About 2/3 of the general population will suffer from neck pain at least once. In most cases, neck pain is caused by a minor strain or sprain in the neck muscles or ligaments due to a “bent-forward” (kyphotic) cervical posture from sleeping improperly, driving long commutes, or prolonged computer work. Neck strains or sprains can also be sudden in onset, such as a ‘whiplash’ flexion-extension injury from a vehicle accident. Most neck pain resolves on its own; however, some people may have chronic neck pain possibly due to Cervical Disc Degeneration. The cervical spine is comprised of a stack of vertebral bones connected on the sides by facet joints. In between each vertebra is a disc that acts as a shock absorber, similar to a wet sponge. As we age as adults, that sponge may dehydrate and shrink, causing more stress in the facet joints leading to arthritis (spondylosis). Furthermore, the disc may protrude and press upon the spinal nerve roots resulting in shooting arm pain from a cervical radiculopathy.
Indications for Seeing a Pain Physician (M.D.) for neck pain:
- If you have continuous, persistent neck pain that did not improve with standard treatments of heat/ice, massage, and over-the-counter pain medications (Tylenol, Advil, etc.).
- If your neck pain is accompanied by headaches, shoulder pain, and/or pain that radiates down the arms or legs
- NOTE: Call 911 or seek Emergency Medical Care if you have severe neck pain associated with high fevers, difficulty walking, fecal or urinary incontinence, or a traumatic accident/fall, as it may involve a serious condition that warrants medical attention
Dr. John Villanueva is part of an elite group of physicians serving the greater Los Angeles area who are Double Boarded and Certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation in both his primary specialty and the subspecialty of Pain Medicine. His state of the art premier medical facility—John Villanueva, M.D. Inc. Pain & Spine—is conveniently located at 2121 W. Magnolia Blvd. Suite B, Burbank CA. For an appointment or more information please call us 818-669-8895 and we will be happy to assist you.