The neck is formed by the top portion of the spine and is more accurately and clinically known as the cervical spine. It is constructed to be strong and stable to support our heads whilst also forming the channel for nerve communication from the brain. It can often be a source of pain though.
Neck pain is commonly seen but is not usually indicative of anything serious. Most of the time neck pain is caused by sleeping or sitting awkwardly, poor posture - for example when sitting at a desk for long periods or stress which can make the muscles in the neck tight and sore. Identifying the cause and correcting it can usually make all the difference. A simple change of pillows or having an assessment on your workstation is often all that is needed to help reduce your neck pain. Gentle exercises and heat packs or over the counter pain killing remedies can also be used.
Sometimes neck pain can be a symptom of an underlying condition such as a form of arthritis called cervical spondylosis or a trapped nerve. These conditions would usually be associated with pain radiating into the arms, sometimes accompanied by tingling and pins and needles or a loss of coordination.
To assess and treat neck pain appropriately your consultant would usually ask for a scan to be undertaken of the area (MRI or CT) to look at the structures of the spine and identify the cause of the pain.
Injections to the cervical facet joints of steroid and local anaesthetic can be helpful as can radio frequency treatment in lessening the pain and many people who undergo these can find that the benefits last for months, if not years. These simple procedures are usually carried out as a day case procedure under a light sedation. The radio frequency heats the nerve that is transmitting the pain and in doing so disrupts the route so that the nerve signals are no longer transmitted. Once the nerve has healed the pain should be reduced and the benefits felt for a good length of time. Injections work by administering a long-acting local anaesthetic and steroid to the cervical facet joints in the neck to anaesthetise the facet joint and block the pain. Dr Humble regularly carries out these and other procedures to help his patients to return to an active, pain free lifestyle. Contact us to make an appointment or with any questions you may have and the knowledgeable team will help.