SpineOne is Denver’s Neck Pain Specialist
Our necks do a lot of work. The human head can weigh as much as a bowling ball, and it’s up to your neck to support that weight all day, whether we move our heads or not. Even minor movements in the head can add significant stress to the muscles, ligaments, and bones that support it.
With this much work being silently done by our necks, injury and pain are common. Minor things like poor posture or sleeping wrong can cause neck pain, as well as more serious events like motor vehicle accidents and age-related degeneration. Let’s discuss when neck pain is minor and when it might be time to see a doctor.
What are the Symptoms of Neck Pain?
Neck pain symptoms can vary widely depending on their type and cause. A minor muscle strain may be a temporary nuisance, whereas a disc or nerve injury could radiate pain to the shoulders and arms. Neck pain can also be present first thing in the morning, or could start out minor and worsen as the day progresses. Common symptoms of a neck pain injury include:
- Stiff neck
- Radiating Pain or Numbness or tingling in the arms & hands
- Shooting pain when lifting or holding objects
What Causes Low Back Pain?
Your spine is a large and complex structure. It supports your entire body, from your low back to your neck, and absorbs the shock of every step and every fall. Your spine is sturdy enough to support your body and mobile enough to accommodate your movements. With the complex and important nature of your spine, it can be susceptible to many different injuries and degenerative conditions. Some of the most common causes of neck pain SpineOne sees in our patients include:
- Muscle Strain & Sprain
- Spine Alignment Issues
- Poor posture (Text Neck)
- Herniated Disc (also known as a “Bulging Disc”)
- Spine Arthritis
- Facet Joint Pain
These causes of neck pain can result in minor pain, tingling and numbness, muscle spasms, and (sometimes) severe, debilitating pain.
Auto accident injuries and whiplash can be insidious, often taking weeks or months to fully manifest. You may experience back or neck pain that diminishes within a few days of your accident, or you may experience no neck pain at all. By the time more serious complications develop, some of the damage from the injury may have become permanent.
Text Neck / Phone Neck
Text Neck is a result of staring down or staying hunched over an activity for too long. This posture isn’t exactly new; people have done this for centuries with books, drawings, sewing, and many other activities. The condition is referred to as “Text Neck” because the saturation of mobile devices, and our cultural addiction to them, have multiplied the amount of time we spend hunched over.
Diagnosing Neck Pain
Understanding the underlying cause of neck pain often means an extensive look at a patient’s history, habits, and the nature of what they’re feeling. SpineOne takes a holistic and nuanced approach to diagnosing neck pain & whiplash to understand not only symptoms but also our patients and their needs.
Consultation & Examination
The foundation of our diagnostic process is the initial exam and discussion of our patient’s history, activity level, sleep habits, and any activity or injury that may have brought them to SpineOne. During this initial consultation, our doctors learn more about the patient’s condition and begin to outline a wellness program.
Your SpineOne doctor will feel by hand (also called palpation) along the spine to locate any muscle spasms or tightness, areas of tenderness, or joint abnormalities.
Range of Motion Test
Your doctor may ask you to bend or twist in specific positions to gauge the severity of your pain or see if specific movements are impaired by pain.
During the initial consultation, our doctors may order an X-Ray of the affected area to get a closer look at the general structure of the spine and address their findings. This imaging takes place in our clinic and does not require travel to a second location.
If the doctor needs an even closer look at the structures related to the spine, they may order an MRI. This scan will show detailed images of the muscles, ligaments, disks, and nerves in the spine and lead to a more specific diagnosis. SpineOne’s medical center includes an on-site, wide bore MRI, so you won’t need a referral to an outside imaging center.
The end result of this process is a clearer understanding of your neck pain, and a path forward to pain relief.
Treatments for Neck Pain
Neck Pain Specialists
The treatment plan for neck pain depends on the type of pain and the diagnosis. Some pain will subside on its own after a few days. Other pain will respond to stretching and oral medication. If your diagnosis indicates something structural, or if your pain is severe enough to disrupt your life, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
The physical therapists at SpineOne specialize in custom exercise programs, McKenzie methods, as well as dry needling and soft tissue manipulation to address some of the postural and muscular effects of neck pain. The treatments recommended by your physical therapist will help you achieve long term relief from neck pain.
Spinal Manipulation & Massage Therapy.
If the results of your examination indicate that chiropractic care or massage therapy will benefit the patient, we will refer them to one of the many local chiropractors & massage therapists we partner with.
SpineOne specializes in a number of therapeutic injections to reduce and relieve neck pain. These minimally-invasive procedures include epidural steroid injections, facet joint injections, and radiofrequency ablations. Your physician will consult closely with you on which of these will be most effective for pain relief.
SpineOne’s practice history has shown that few neck pain patients require invasive surgery. In fact, such surgeries can create longer-term problems. Our treatments and procedures include spinal cord stimulation, kyphoplasty, and other procedures designed to be alternatives to invasive surgery and habit-forming medication
How Should I Choose a Doctor to Treat My Neck Pain?
You have many practitioners to choose from who will offer to help your neck pain. Most chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons, pain management specialists, and physical therapists specialize in specific treatments. While each of these may be appropriate treatments for the various causes of sciatica, how each patient responds to those treatments can vary.
For this reason, we recommend a multi-disciplined specialist who recognizes these differences and offers many treatment options, from injections to physical therapy, or a referral for chiropractic care. SpineOne offers exam, imaging, and treatment options in one location, often with same-day appointments. To learn more, schedule your consultation today.