The neck is a coordinated network of nerves, bones, joints, and muscles. The neck has the important job of providing support and mobility for the head, but a weakened or damaged cervical spine can lead to neck pain.

What spinal conditions cause chronic neck pain?

Neck pain that lasts for several weeks or months may be due to the gradual wear-and-tear of the cervical spine and progressive degeneration. Spine-related causes include:

  • Cervical Disc Herniation
  • Cervical Osteoarthritis
  • Cervical Disc Degeneration

Additional causes include cervical spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis.

What signs and symptoms are associated with neck pain?

  • Stiffness. Moving the neck can become difficult, especially when trying to turn the head from side to side.
  • Sharp pain. An acute stabbing or stinging pain may be felt in a localized area of the neck.
  • Soreness. Tenderness or an achy discomfort may be felt in a broad area of the neck.
  • Radicular pain. A shock-like pain can radiate along a pinched nerve in the cervical spine into the shoulder, arm, hand, and/or fingers.
  • Cervical radiculopathy. Neurological deficits, such as numbness, tingling, or weakness, may be experienced in the shoulder, arm, hand, and/or fingers.
  • Trouble with gripping or lifting objects. Weakness in the arm, hand, or fingers caused due to cervical radiculopathy may make gripping or lifting objects difficult.
  • Headache. Irregular muscle contractions in the neck or a pinched nerve in the cervical spine can lead to a dull ache or chronic pain in the back of the head and/or area behind the eyes.

How is neck pain treated?

Nonsurgical Treatments

A doctor may recommend one or a combination of the following nonsurgical or self-care options:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Ice or Heat Therapy
  • Epidural Steroid Injections
  • Medication
  • Manual Manipulation

Surgical Treatments

Surgery may be considered if nonsurgical treatments fail to reduce neck pain or if progressive neurological deficits occur.

  • Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion
  • Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement

This information is not intended or implied as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images or other information provided is intended for general information purposes only. Always consult with your physician for diagnosis or treatment.