Degenerative Conditions of the Cervical Spine

Woman with chronic neck pain

Chronic neck pain is one of the most common causes for missed days at work. Statistics show that millions of Americans experience at least one episode of significant neck pain in their lifetime. Experts at the Cervical Spine Institute affirm these findings and add that more than half of these patients may suffer from chronic neck pain lasting for more than six months. Due to the increasing prevalence of degenerative causes of neck pain, it is crucial to determine the most common causes of debilitating neck pain for early management by a cervical spine specialist in Hurst, TX.

Axial Neck Pain

Axial neck pain is a condition that occurs due to musculoskeletal lesions caused by trauma, whiplash or muscle strain. It is characterized by episodic neck pain which often worsens with movement. You may also experience a recurrent headache due to chemical irritation from progressive spinal degeneration. Further workup through cervical radiography, Computed Tomography (CT) scans, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are indicated to diagnose this condition.

Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy occurs when the underlying nerve root is already compressed. This may result in neck pain which radiates to the upper arm. You may also experience neurologic deficits such as one-sided weakness and numbness of the arm due to nerve inflammation. Orthopedic surgeons perform different maneuvers to localize the affected nerve root. If the patient’s neurologic problems worsen over time, surgical treatment must be done to provide symptomatic relief.

Cervical Myelopathy

Cervical myelopathy is a progressive disease that refers to compression of spinal cord structures. You may experience severe, debilitating pain due to progressive damage to the innermost structures of the spine. Initially, you may experience clumsiness of the arms and hands, generalized numbness, and trouble in writing. However, if left untreated, severe weakness, gait dysfunction, and bladder problems may occur.

The cervical spine is an important structure that supports the skull, brain tissues, and nerves connected to the brain. Due to its proximity to the nervous system, the cervical spine must maintain its proper alignment to reduce pain, headache, and neck stiffness. Thus, it is vital to visit an orthopedic surgeon who can perform comprehensive evaluation and management of cervical spine problems.