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Neck Pain Causes

Neck pain

Neck pain is discomfort in any of the structures in the neck. These include the muscles, nerves, bones (vertebrae), and the disks between the bones. The neck (cervical spine) is composed of vertebrae that begin in the upper torso and end at the base of the skull. The bony vertebrae along with the ligaments and muscles provide stability to the spine. These muscles allow for support and motion.

The neck supports the weight of the head and is responsible for a significant amount of motion. Because the neck is less protected than the rest of the spine, the neck can be vulnerable to injuries that produce pain and can drastically limit motion.


  • Whiplash - An injury to the soft tissues of the neck from a sudden jerking or "whipping" of the head. This type of motion strains the muscles and ligaments of the neck beyond their normal range of motion.
  • Arthritis - Cervical Spondylitis is Arthritis of the Neck. Like the rest of the body, the bones in the neck (cervical spine) slowly degenerate as we age. More than 85% of people over age 60 are affected. Although it is a form of arthritis, cervical spondylitis rarely becomes a crippling or disabling type.
  • Muscle strains - Overuse such as too many hours hunched over a desk/computer, often triggers muscle strains. Sleeping in a position that strains the neck, such as with a pillow that is too high or too firm. Even such minor things as reading in bed or gritting your teeth can strain neck muscles.
  • Nerve compression - Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your neck can take up too much space and press on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.
  • Diseases - Neck pain can sometimes be caused by diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer.

Home Care

  • For minor, common causes of neck pain:
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Apply heat or ice to the painful area.
    • One good method is to use ice for the first 48 - 72 hours, then use heat after that. Heat may be applied with hot showers, hot compresses, or a heating pad.
  • Stop normal physical activity for the first few days to reduce inflammation.
  • Gently stretch the neck muscles. (up and down, side to side, and from ear to ear)
  • Gently massage the sore areas.
  • Sleep on a firm mattress without a pillow or with a special neck pillow.
  • Use a soft neck collar to relieve discomfort.

When Should You Seek Medical Care?
If severe neck pain occurs following an injury (motor vehicle accident, diving accident, or fall), medical care should be sought immediately.

If there has not been an injury, you should seek medical care when neck pain is:

  • Continuous
  • Severe
  • Accompanied by pain that radiates down the arms or legs
  • Accompanied by headaches, numbness, tingling, or weakness

Many patients seek orthopedic care for neck pain.  The Become Pain Free orthopedists are specifically trained to diagnose, treat, and help prevent problems involving the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons our Become Pain Free specialist treat a wide variety of diseases, injuries, and other conditions, including neck pain. Call us today at (214) 396-3647 to find the treatment that is right for you.

to find the treatment that is right for you.

The most common types of neck pain usually respond well to home care. If neck pain persists, your doctor may recommend other treatments.

  • Medications
  • Physical Therapy
  • Traction
  • Surgical Procedures
  • Steroid injections

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Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Failed back surgery syndrome, commonly referred to as FBSS, occurs when a patient does not have a successful experience with spinal surgery intended to ease pain in the back, neck, hips, or legs. About 40 percent of people who go through open back surgery experience symptoms of failed back surgery. If you are one of those people, keep reading. You are not out of options. Causes of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome There can be many reasons why back surgery fails to ease pain or actually causes pain to get worse. Sometimes the original problem was incorrectly diagnosed, leading to unnecessary surgery or surgery in the wrong place on the spine. Other times, the surgeon misses a fragment of disc or bone which is left still putting pressure on the nerve. FBSS is certainly not always the fault of the doctor who performs the operation. Sometimes a patient develops a new spinal condition following surgery. Scar tissue from the original surgery can also lead to increased pain, as can damage to the nerves. Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome Because there can be so many causes of FBSS, the symptoms can vary broadly as well. Some people find that their pain is reduced somewhat but not enough to make a meaningful difference in their quality of life. Other people say that their pain is not reduced but is actually worse after the failed surgery. Finally, some people do well for the first three to six months after surgery and then start to develop pain again. This is often caused by a new injury or by the formation of scar tissue. The site of the pain can vary as well. It may be located in the spine. Other people report pain in the neck or hips or shooting pain to the extremities. People with FBSS also frequently experience emotional pain such as frustration, depression, or anxiety. Treatments for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome Depending on the causes and symptoms of FBSS, there are many treatments available. They range from additional surgery to careful use of pain medications to exercise to electrical devices that reduce the transmission of pain signals. Here at Become Pain Free, we recognize that one treatment will not fit every patient. We will examine you carefully, run any necessary tests, and develop and individualized plan of care designed to ease your pain. Don't put off calling us. The longer pain is allowed to go untreated, the harder it is to control. Become Pain Free offers a diverse and comprehensive network of physicians whose sole purpose is to effectively treat your pain. If you are experiencing FBSS, don't suffer another minute. Call us today for an appointment. You can reach us at 214-396-3647 or at 888-373-3720. Pain does not have to control your life. We can help you control the pain.

Note: The information on this Web site is provided as general health guidelines and may not be applicable to your particular health condition. Your individual health status and any required medical treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional healthcare provider of your choice. Remember: There is no adequate substitution for a personal consultation with your physician. Neither BPF Specialty Hospital, or any of their affiliates, nor any contributors shall have any liability for the content or any errors or omissions in the information provided by this Web site.