Pain tendon neck
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
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There are many different causes of neck pain. Some problems that may cause neck pain are:
• Radiculopathy – This is a “pinched nerve”, often from a herniated disk. This causes pain down the arm that's often described as an electric shock feeling. Weakness of the arm may also be present.
• Myofascial Pain - An aching pain in muscles that tends to be associated with poor posture, sitting at a computer or other job-related tasks. Patients can become sore in different parts of the body such as the neck and arms, and often patients report they have difficulty sleeping or they wake up feeling exhausted.
• Spinal Stenosis - A narrowing of the nerve openings or spinal canal that can cause symptoms similar to a pinched nerve. The pain is described either as an aching or an electric shock feeling down the arm. Weakness of the arm can be present.
• Tendon, Ligament and Soft Tissue Pain - Localized pain when an area is stretched or its muscles are overused. This results in tenderness, spasm, and restricted range of motion in the neck.
• Non-Spinal Causes of Neck Pain - Pain that seems to originate in the neck but is from another cause. Shoulder and elbow injuries and gall bladder disease are examples of problems that can refer pain to the neck area.
• Repetitive Strain - An injury that occurs from a chronically repetitive motion. This is known as repetitive stress injury. These problems are often found in people who sit at desks or work at computers.
Diagnosis is established by clinical history and examination. The diagnosis is confirmed by imaging procedures such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CAT scanning). Electrical studies (Electromyography) are also helpful.
Once the diagnosis is established, treatment can be initiated. The rehabilitation of neck injuries occurs in three phases. This is particularly true for soft tissue injuries such as ligament or tendon issues.
During the first phase, called the acute phase, physicians treat pain and inflammation. After they make a specific diagnosis and develop a treatment plan, physicians prescribe medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, or analgesics. They also send patients to physical therapists for treatment options like ultrasound, electrical stimulation, mobilization, medication, and ice. A physician may also consider injections.
In the second, or recovery, phase of treatment, flexibility and strength are emphasized. The goal of this phase is to get the patient back to their usual work, sports and leisure activities. This goal is achieved through specially designed exercises that rebuild the body.
The goal of the third phase of treatment, the maintenance phase, is to minimize recurrence of the problem. This often consists of a fitness program, designed to maintain body mechanics and increase endurance.
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