Neck pain is a particularly perplexing condition because it often does not originate in the neck. To correctly diagnose and treat neck pain, your New York City back pain doctor will perform a complete physical evaluation of your general health and gather information regarding your medical history, current lifestyle and other data relevant to diagnosing the reason for your neck pain.
The most frequent causes of chronic neck pain are degenerative disc disease, pinched nerves, whiplash, herniated disc, fibromyalgia or simple strain. Infections may also produce neck pain, such as throat infections and associated swelling of the lymph nodes. Neck pain that is accompanied by back pain may be the result of inflammation extending from spine into the neck region, a disorder called ankylosing spondylitis.
Comprised of hundreds of intricately connected bones held together by soft tissues called ligaments, the spine and vertebrae suffer tremendous amounts of stress and strain each day. Physical activities we take for granted, such as walking, bending, lifting and twisting, constantly put extreme pressure on the protective, gel-like discs sandwiched between vertebrae.
If one of these discs slips out of position, the disc typically bulges outward and presses on spinal nerves, causing pain and inflammation indicative of a condition called disc herniation. When moderate to severe disc herniation is unresponsive to physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications, your back pain doctor in New York City may recommend patients undergo a discectomy to repair herniated discs, relieve pain and restore mobility.
You may be a candidate for a discectomy if you suffer:
- Leg numbness and pain that interferes with your ability to complete daily tasks
- Muscle weakness in the buttocks, lower back and lower legs
- Pain that radiates from your back into your legs and buttocks
- Urinary incontinence or loss of bowel functioning
During a discectomy, your Jersey City back pain doctor will remove displaced or bulging disks so that spinal nerves are no longer being compressed. Discectomies are generally recommended when there is also damage to spinal bones and not just the discs.
A less invasive procedure called a microdiscectomy relieves disc herniation pain herniation using a very small incision through which a tiny microscope is inserted to view nerves and damaged discs. During this kind of minimally invasive procedure, your back pain surgeon extracts damaged disc portions and reorganizes muscles surrounding the spine to replace diseased discs. Discectomies usually take about three hours to complete. Less time is needed to complete microdiscectomies.
When small openings in the spinal column called neural foramena narrow due to abnormal bone development or excessive scar tissue and ligament growth, the ensuing pressure on nerve bundles leaving the spinal cord through these openings causes chronic pain, muscle weakness and numbness. Patients with foraminal spinal stenosis may require a back pain doctor in Jersey City perform a foraminotomy to enlarge the opening and reduce pressure on the nerve root.
Symptoms of foraminal stenosis include pain, tingling and numbness in your back, legs or arms, leg and arm weakness and radiating pain (radicular or sciatica pain). If you have these symptoms and your back pain doctor diagnoses you with foraminal stenosis, delaying a foraminotomy may allow painful symptoms and the disease to worsen.
Don’t let neck and back pain reduce your quality of life any longer. Receive an immediate diagnosis and treatment program to help relieve your back and neck pain by calling Regional Orthopedic today.