The spinal column is the backbone of the entire human skeletal system, so when it comes to pain in the neck, many people are surprised to learn that discomfort can actually start in the spinal column. If you’ve had prolonged cervical discomfort, then discussing your treatment options with an orthopedic surgeon may be a good idea for your overall health and comfort. At The Modern Orthopedic Spine Specialists, our Thousand Oaks spine surgeon, Dr. Armen Oganesian, can help you relieve cervical discomfort with the appropriate treatment, usually beginning with non-operative interventions such as physical therapy.
When you visit an orthopedic spine surgeon, one of the things you may be wondering about is the relationship between cervical discomfort and the spinal cord. There are a few different causes for the discomfort related to this region of the body, such as your nerves, disc, joints, or muscles. In general, nerve irritation in the spinal cord is the most common cause of discomfort in the cervical area, as well as the head, arm, shoulder, and even hand.
The cervical area and the spinal cord connect through several vertebrae sections ranging from C1 to C7. The ligaments, muscles, and tendons around these vertebrae support the cervical area and allow for movement of the head. Sometimes discomfort in this region is caused by strained soft tissues, sprains in the facet joints and discs from overuse or overextension, or pinched nerve roots from the spinal cord.
How Soon Does Pain Go Away?
Discomfort in the cervical area can go away within a week, can last several weeks, or can be part of a chronic, recurring injury. Acute discomfort will last less than four weeks and is usually associated with soft tissue injuries and some types of nerve pinching. Subacute discomfort lasts for four to 12 weeks and may be associated with musculoskeletal injuries. Chronic discomfort tends to focus on joint or nerve damage, which can cause flare-ups that last for three or more months.
What Are Your Treatment Options in Thousand Oaks?
Cervical discomfort is more common than many people believe. Roughly 15% of adults in America will have discomfort for at least one day in three months. That said, there are several treatment options you can consider, ranging from self-care home treatments to medical treatments to surgical procedures.
Home treatment generally means resting the area to avoid aggravating the cause of your cervical discomfort. Using special pillows, icing the area, improving posture, and applying topical over-the-counter ointments can help reduce discomfort so you can recover better.
Medical treatments can include a variety of physician-prescribed remedies, such as oral or topical medications, physical therapy, or injection therapy with corticosteroids or other medications. Medical treatments can be used to help you recover from acute injuries or help you manage chronic injuries.
Surgery With an Orthopedic Surgeon
When chronic discomfort is especially recurrent, it may be in your best interest to have a consultation with a surgeon. There are several procedures that can be used to correct disc alignment in the cervical area or treat injured nerves.
The relationship between the spine surgeon and the cervical area of your body is very delicate. Although discomfort in this region is common, chronic discomfort may require surgical attention. Visit The Modern Spine in Thousand Oaks, CA to discuss spinal cord questions with a qualified surgeon today.