Some of the common causes of neck pain includes:
Spondylolisthesis -“spondlo” means vertebrae and “olisthesis” means sliding on a slippery surface. typically there is slipping of one vertebrae on another vertebrae causing neck pain and the possible compression of nerve roots which can lead to radicular arm pain
Radiculopathy – A pinched nerve, usually from a herniated, or slipped, disk. Patients typically complain of numbness/tingling /or a shooting pain traveling down the arm or mid back which is very severe and needs to be evaluated further with diagnostic testing(MRI/NCV and EMG)
Myofascial Pain – is a sore , aching pain in muscles that’s due to microtrauma to muscles and usually manifest as a trigger point(tender to the touch ). This type of pain can occur due to deconditioning (inactivity),poor posture, sitting at a computer, performing manual labor while working in the yard, gardening, repetitive bending or lifting. Patients can also have referral pain down the arm.
Spinal Stenosis – A narrowing of the nerve openings either around the spinal canal or nerve roots that can cause symptoms similar to a pinched nerve. It can cause arm pain in anyone, but most often does so in older people. Patients with spinal stenosis can have trouble walking, and standing and pain relief with sitting down or bending forward. It can cause aching or heaviness in either extremity.
- Tendon, Ligament and Soft Tissue Pain – Localized pain when an area is stretched or its muscles are overused. This results in tenderness.
- Scoliosis -also known as a curved spine causes muscle imbalance and poor posture which can lead to neck pain
Non-Spinal Causes of neck pain- Pain imitating a neck injury, but from another cause. tumors, syrinx, parathyroid disease, arteriovenous malformations are a few examples of problems that can refer pain to the back.
The rehabilitation of neck problems occurs in several phases. During the acute phase, physiatrists will perform a detailed and comprehensive evaluation to ensure the diagnosis. the doctor will order the appropriate diagnostic test and order blood work if necessary. he will provide the patient pain medications and develop a physician supervised treatment plan to treat the pain and inflammation. Treatment options are varied but may include ultrasound, moist heat & electrical stimulation, massage ,hydrobed, neck mobilization, medication, and even specialized injections.
In the sub-acute phase or recovery phase of treatment, The physiatrist attempts to improve flexibility and strength by implementing a structured and medically supervised stretching and strengthening exercise program aimed at decreasing pain and improving quality of life. The goal of this phase is to get you back to your usual work, and leisure activities.
The main goal of the third phase of treatment, the maintenance phase, is to minimize recurrence of the problem and to prevent further injury. This often consists of a total body fitness program, designed to maintain body mechanics and increase endurance after the original symptoms have resolved. and a home exercise program to ensure continued pain relief