Neck, or cervical, pain is one of the most common complaints Dr. Nikesh Seth addresses. At Integrated Pain Consultants, there are a number of treatments for this hot spot of pain, giving you options when it comes to medications or surgery. However, neck pain can encompass a variety of types of pain and can be combined with various causes. It’s estimated that up to ten percent of people will have severe enough neck pain in their life to seek medical help. However, if you were to ask ten neck pain patients to describe the pain, they’d likely all have different descriptors.
It’s critical to be transparent and detailed when describing the pain to help your medical team with a correct diagnosis. One of the most common types of neck pain is caused by muscle pain. A sore neck and shoulders can be caused either by physical or emotional stress. The neck notoriously carries stress, and it can result in tangible evidence like knots. A muscle spasm is another type of neck muscle pain. The tell-tale sign is the inability to turn your head. Spasms occur from injuries, emotional stress, or even nerve or spinal disc issues.
Headaches can often trickle down into the neck, resulting in a spasm or muscle tension. This type of pain is often described as a dull ache instead of a sharp pain. The neck might be stiff and turning the head can exacerbate the pain. There’s also facet joint pain, which is usually described by patients as deep and sharp. The facet joints in the neck’s vertebrae get worse when you lean your head into the affected area. It can radiate into the back and shoulders. If you also have arthritis in these joints, the pain can be worse in the morning or after prolonged inactivity.
Pinched or irritated spinal nerves cause nerve pain. Clients may describe the pain as “pins and needles.” It can be severe, sharp, and fleeting. Since there are so many nerves in the neck, the pain can radiate to the arms and hands, too.
One of the most challenging types of neck pain to diagnose is referred pain. This occurs when a different part of the body (such as the heart) triggers pain in a far-removed area. Finally, there’s bone pain. It’s the least common type of neck pain and demands immediate attention because it may be a sign of a serious issue. If you’re dealing with a real pain in the neck, contact Integrated Pain Consultants at 480-626-2552 to discuss your options.