The neck—or cervical spine—is a coordinated network of nerves, bones, joints, and muscles directed by the brain and the spinal cord. It is designed for strength, stability, and nerve communication. The neck has the important job of providing support and mobility for the head, which can weigh about 11 pounds—the approximate weight of a medium bowling ball.
Commonly, there are a number of problems that cause pain in the neck. Additionally, irritation along the nerve pathways can cause pain into the shoulder, head, arm, and hand. Irritation of the spinal cord can cause pain into the legs and other areas below the neck.
Most instances of neck pain will go away within a few days or weeks, but pain that persists for months could signal an underlying medical cause that needs to be addressed. In some instances, early intervention may be necessary for the best results.
Neck pain can feel like any of the following:
- Stiff neck that makes turning the head difficult
- Sharp or stabbing pain in one spot
- Soreness or tenderness in a general area
- Pain that radiates down into the shoulders, arms, or fingers, or radiates up into the head
In some cases, other symptoms associated with the neck pain are even more problematic, such as:
- Tingling, numbness, or weakness that radiates into the shoulder, arms, or fingers
- Trouble with gripping or lifting objects
- Problems with walking, balance, or coordination
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
Neck pain might be minor and easily ignored, or it can be excruciating to the point where it interferes with important daily activities, including sleep. The pain might be short-lived, come and go, or become constant. While not common, neck pain can also be a signal of a serious underlying medical issue, such as meningitis, or cancer.
When neck pain is bothering you and has started to put a dent in your life-style, schedule a visit with Dr. Smith today and get started to a better and healthier you. Call us today at 505-327-5086 and start your journey back to full health.