Neck pain is a frequent complaint at the Comprehensive Orthopaedic and Spine Center. Common causes of neck pain include:
- Trauma/acute injury
- Muscle strain
- Joint wear and tear
- Nerve compression (from herniated discs or bone spurs)
- Disease (rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, or cancer)
Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease
The cervical region of the spine has six discs, each of which support the neck and head. While it may be normal for these discs to degenerate later in life, premature degeneration is oftentimes diagnosed as cervical degenerative disc disease. Cervical discs may degenerate due to an injury; however, it is more common for discs to degenerate because of daily use.
Patients with cervical degenerative disc disease may have a stiff neck and/or experience tingling, numbness, or weakness in the neck. In some patients, a degenerative disc might pinch a nerve, causing pain in the arms and shoulders, as well.
Anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) is one surgical method used to treat this condition. This type of surgery is designed to relieve pressure and stabilize the degenerated region.
Cervical Disc Replacement
In the past, ACDF was the only option for many patients with cervical degenerative disc disease. Today, many patients at the Comprehensive Orthopaedic and Spine Center have the option of choosing cervical disc replacement. In this procedure, the surgeon replaces the diseased surgical disc(s), which allows for a greater range of motion and less risk of wearing out discs above and below (compared to ACDF).
This procedure may also be performed on discs in the lumbar region. Learn more about lumbar disc replacement.
Cervical stenosis is a condition in which the spinal column narrows, pinching the spinal nerve and causing pain in neck and arms. In most patients, this condition is a result of the natural aging process. As the vertebrae shrink, there is less space for the spinal cord. Surrounding ligaments may thicken and become less flexible, causing bone spurs to develop. These additional factors may contribute to the pain.
Mild cervical stenosis may be managed medically with drugs and therapy. Patients with severe cervical stenosis have surgical options, including anterior cervical discectomy, a procedure in which a cervical disc is removed to create more room in the spinal column.
Cervical radiculopathy is a condition in which the spinal nerve is pinched near the root, oftentimes caused by bone spurs on the vertebra. This typically occurs in old age as vertebral discs slowly lose height. As the discs lose height, the bone responds by generating more bone material in the form of spurs. In many individuals, these spurs pinch the nerve root, causing mild to severe pain that radiates down into the arms.
Cervical radiculopathy may be managed medically with drugs and therapy. Surgical treatments include anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), as well as disc replacement.
Myelopathy is a term used to describe any condition that causes the normal flow of neural impulses through the spinal cord to be interrupted. Cervical myelopathy refers to this disruption in the cervical/neck region. This painful neck condition may be caused by a tumor, disc herniation, bone spurs, disc degeneration, trauma, autoimmune disorders, or some other cause.
Many of the surgical procedures described above can be used to treat this type of neck pain.
To learn more about your treatment options for neck pain at Mountain Vista Medical Center, call the Comprehensive Orthopaedic and Spine Center at 480-358-6547.