Neck Pain – North Texas*

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About Neck Pain

Neck pain is a common occurrence at various stages in life, and it can develop suddenly or gradually as we age. Since there are many possible causes of neck pain, it’s crucial to undergo a thorough medical evaluation to determine the source of your discomfort. Dr. Kendall Carll of Spine Care of North Texas is a board-certified spine surgeon who has been practicing for more 15 years in the North Texas area treating his patients with various causes and types of neck pain. His medical offices are equipped to diagnose a wide range of spinal problems, including neck pain, for adults and children. Dr. Carll and his medical team initially strive to provide relief from neck pain without surgery, but if surgery is required, he holds privileges to several local hospitals and surgical centers.

The first step to treating neck pain is diagnosing the source, which means a physical exam in our office with a series of x-rays and MRI scans.

Causes

To understand the cause of neck pain, it’s important to understand the structure of your neck. Medically speaking, the spine is divided into five sections, and the neck is labeled the cervical region. There are seven vertebrae in your neck, which are labeled C1 through C7, from top to bottom. These vertebrae are separated by spongy rings called intervertebral discs. These discs act as shock absorbers, separating the vertebrae so they don’t rub against one another, and also giving your neck its flexibility. The spine houses the spinal nerve column, which runs from the brain, through the neck, and down to the lower trunk. Branching off the main spinal nerve column in the neck are eight pairs of cervical nerves. All the vertebrae in the neck, like the rest of the vertebrae in the spine, have connections with tendons, ligaments, and muscles in the neck. Neck pain is usually caused by damage to any of these tightly integrated elements in the cervical region.

Neck pain can be caused by something as simple as a pillow that does not properly support your head, too much time sitting in front of a computer, carrying a heavy purse or backpack, constant phone usage, occupational issues, or trauma from an automobile accident. All these situations can damage the nerves, muscles, ligaments, or tendons in your neck, and possibly impact the vertebrae. More complex structural issues involving aging spinal vertebrae or intervertebral discs can also be sources of neck pain.

Symptoms

People often describe neck pain in several different ways, and the distinct nature of the neck pain can be indicative of the source of the problem. Neck pain can be general soreness or stiffness, or it can manifest as pain with numbness, headaches, tingling in the arms or shoulders, or weakness while lifting or holding objects. It may also feel worse when you lie down at night.

Treatment Options

The range of treatments for chronic neck pain depends on the cause of the pain. Both nonsurgical and surgical treatment options can be very effective if the precise problem can be identified. More challenging is identifying the chronic source of the neck pain. Common sources include from degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, pinched nerves, cervical osteoarthritis, and spinal stenosis.

Nonsurgical

Temporary neck pain can usually be treated with rest, anti-inflammatory and pain medications, hot or cold therapy, steroid injections at the site of the pain, and possibly neck bracing for immobilization. You may also benefit from physical therapy and/or selective nerve root blocks via targeted injections into the spaces between the vertebrae.

Surgical

If the neck pain cannot be treated using a combination of nonsurgical options, Dr. Carll may address the problem using various minimally invasive surgical techniques. The most common surgical solutions for neck pain would be a spinal fusion surgery or a discectomy procedure to remove discs that might be impacting a cervical nerve branch. Fusion surgery is advised in instances where the neck pain intensifies with movement, it might be necessary to fuse the cervical vertebrae using plates and screws. Fusion surgery is very common. With modern technology and an experienced spine surgeon, fusion surgery now has a more comfortable postoperative recovery period. A discectomy may be necessary if the source of the neck pain is a ruptured or bulging intervertebral disc, surgery can be performed to completely or partially remove the disc. In some cases, artificial discs can be inserted to preserve the range of motion in the neck. A discectomy is often accompanied with a fusion procedure.

One of the keys to a successful spine surgery is clear communication. Before any procedure, Dr. Carll will review the procedure details and offer information on how you need to prepare both physically and mentally for the surgery.

Don't Ignore Your Neck Pain

Dr. Carll and his team at Spine Care of North Texas have helped many patients end their frustration and discomfort associated with neck pain. Our team is skilled and qualified to assist Dr. Carll in the diagnosis and treatment of your neck pain. Let us help you take back your life. If you are ready to work with a compassionate team of medical professionals whose sole focus is on improving your quality of life, we encourage you to call to schedule your appointment today.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.