Neck Pain and Problems

Neck pain can result from many different factors, including injury, age-related disorders, and inflammatory disease.

Causes of neck pain and problems may include the following:

  • Injury/trauma
  • Poor posture/positioning
  • Poor muscle tone in the upper back
  • Muscle tension or spasm
  • Sprain or strain
  • Protruded or herniated cervical disk
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cervical disc degeneration
  • Congenital (present at birth) abnormalities of the vertebrae and bones

Diagnosing Neck Pain

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for neck pain may include the following:

  • X-ray
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan)
  • Electromyogram or EMG (a test to evaluate nerve function)
  • Blood tests

Treatments for Neck Pain

Your doctor will work with you to determine the best treatment plan based on your age, overall health, and medical history; the severity of your condition; and your tolerance for certain medications, procedures, or therapies.

Treatment may include:

  • Medication (to reduce inflammation or control pain)
  • Activity modification
  • Ergonomic education
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Exercise
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Neck brace
  • Injections or minimally invasive procedures, which may be performed using live x-ray guidance
  • Surgery

Why Choose Columbia for Neck Pain Care

Our highly skilled team of physicians is fully integrated into the Och Spine Program. We provide a thorough diagnostic evaluation to determine the cause of your neck pain and plan the most conservative treatment possible. Exercise, lifestyle changes, and medications are often sufficient to manage an episode of neck pain. If needed, our physicians offer fluoroscopically (live x-ray) guided spine injections and other minimally invasive procedures to alleviate more severe neck pain. If surgery is needed, our physicians will refer you to a highly skilled surgical colleague within the Och Spine Hospital.