Neck pain can be acute, meaning it lasts for a few hours or even a few weeks, but in some cases this pain can last for several weeks or longer. The neck has a significant amount of motion and supports the weight of the head. However, because it is less protected than the rest of the spine, it can be vulnerable to injuries. In other words, as we age, the tissues in our neck wear and tear, and eventually weaken. The weaker the tissues or joints, the more susceptible you are to these injuries. Chronic neck pain many times is caused from the degeneration of the intervertebral disc.
A physical exam with your physician helps to show where and when your neck hurts. Doctors rely heavily on tests to help them diagnose the root cause of the pain. X-rays or MRI's can be used to show fractures, disc degeneration, facet arthropathy and even nerves. These images can also be used to help your doctor diagnose pain that may be radiating to the shoulders and/or arms.
Treatments for neck pain can vary based on the patient and treatments tried and failed in the past. These can range from medications and cervical pillows, to physical therapy and possibly surgery. Each patient is different and the physicians at Pain Treatment Centers of Illinois work to make sure each treatment plan is tailored to the individual patient to produce the best outcomes possible. The goal is to get each patient back to living life the way they should, pain free.