If you suffer from neck pain, you’re far from alone. According to a survey from the National Centers for Health Statistics, about 15 percent of Americans will experience severe neck pain in any three-month period. That means 45 million people are suffering from neck pain at any given time. About two-thirds of the U.S. population – more than 200 million people – will experience neck pain at some point in their lifetime.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which oversees the collection of these statistics, reports that neck pain and other physical ailments are correlated by income levels. People with jobs that involve lots of bending, standing or lifting are more likely to experience neck pain than people who don’t perform those tasks regularly.
But neck pain doesn’t discriminate, and the causes of neck pain are widely varied.
These issues can occur in people of all ages and professions. Shoulder and neck pain can be caused by sports or other physical activities, ranging from tennis to lawn work. Repetitive physical activities at either work or home can also be one of the leading causes of neck pain, as can remaining in the same position for too many hours at a time. Even your commute to work can cause neck issues.
Common Symptoms of Neck Pain
The most obvious symptom of neck issues is, of course, pain. When things hurt, that’s a clue that something isn’t right! The pain can be a constant, dull throbbing. Neck issues can also show up as sharp, sudden pains that only occur if the neck is moved a certain way.
When tight or damaged neck muscles prevent you from achieving a normal range of motion. This limited movement can have major impacts on your daily life, making it difficult to perform routine tasks, such as looking over your shoulder to check a blind spot when driving.
Sudden, involuntary contractions, or uncontrollable tightening and shaking – can also occur in the neck. These spasms are often a response to strained or overused muscles. They can also occur due to muscle weakness or pain related to an injury or disorder.
It is also important to remember that neck pain, if left untreated, can lead to problems with other parts of the body. Because the neck contains the spine and important muscles that stabilize the head, severe neck pain can translate into balance issues or headaches, an issue known in the health care sector as “referred pain.”
Our goal is to eliminate the issues that are causing your pain, or to help you reduce or manage that pain. Because the severity of symptoms can vary from person to person, our treatment plans vary as well. For some people, neck pain is a minor problem that we can manage with some basic exercises and physical therapy. For others, it may be a constant presence that must be alleviated with more extensive treatments.
Surgery may be necessary in some cases, but for a full understanding of how your pain may be treated, it is important to schedule a consultation with our clinical team. We will conduct a thorough evaluation that mixes hands-on exploration with tests such as CT scans and MRIs. Our team first considers non-operative options such as physical therapy, pain medication, and injection therapies. The ultimate goal is to get your pain under control and help you go about your day-to-day life without back and neck pain.
The symptoms associated with neck issues are numerous as outlined above. The severity of symptoms can vary from person to person. For some individuals, neck pain is a minor problem, while for others it may occur daily or weekly and interfere with daily life and activities.
If you are suffering from neck pain and associated issues, it is important to understand the cause of your pain to start a course of treatment. Microsurgical Spine Center offers a wide range of treatment options, including neck surgery and neck pain management, to correct or alleviate your pain. Learn more about our treatment options here. If you’re in the Seattle, Washington area, contact us or call 253-841-8939.