Head and neck pain can be debilitating and frustrating, leaving us to struggle through daily activities without the ability to comfortable turn our heads, sleep, or even drive.
Champlain Spine and Pain Management team is dedicated to helping patients with head and neck pain find the cause of their discomfort and treat it with the best technology, clinically-proven treatments, and experienced medical professionals who are completely dedicated to their patient’s wellbeing.
What is Head and Neck Pain?
Head and neck pain is defined as any type of discomfort, or pain, that affects the cervical spine – otherwise known as the neck.
Discomfort from the cervical spine can manifest in head pain, headaches, migraines, jaw pain, and even pain behind the eyes. It is for this reason that it is so important to take head and neck pain seriously and work with a professional to get to the root of your problem if it persists over time.
The most common symptoms of head and neck pain are headaches and migraines as well as stiffness and reduced mobility of the neck.
As with other types of pain, not all discomfort manifests the same. Some people experience sharp, shooting pains in their head and neck while others will develop dull aches, throbbing pain, numbness, burning sensations, or tingling.
In some cases, individuals may experience more than one type of pain at the same time. For example, someone may be experiencing sharp pain where their head and neck meet while still experiencing a dull ache and stiffness throughout the rest of their neck.
While certain symptoms of head and neck pain may indicative of one type of injury or condition over another, it is important to work with a specialist to receive an official diagnosis and treatment plan.
Common Causes of Head and Neck Pain
Injury is one of the top causes of head and neck pain, as more and more people are placing undue stress on their neck by straining to look at televisions, gaming devices, and computers. Our neck is also prone to injury from whiplash, such as when someone experiences a car accident.
Herniated discs are another common cause of head and neck pain, as are muscle spasms and degenerative diseases like arthritis.
Depending on the cause of your head and neck pain, certain treatments may or may not be better suited for your needs. To make sure you get the best treatment possible, work with a qualified team who will work with you to understand your history, needs, concerns, and goals when it comes to overcoming head and neck pain.
Acute Chronic Headaches
While everyone experiences a headache every once in a while, some people can be afflicted with acute chronic headaches that leave them unable to function. For some, these headaches can happen every day or so frequently throughout the month that they are unable to work.
A cervical injury refers to any injury that affects the cervical spine, which is also known as your neck. While some people may experience stiffness in their neck as a result of a minor injury, others may have such a severe cervical spine injury that it poses a risk to their life.
This condition refers to a “narrowing” of the cervical spine, which puts additional pressure on the spinal canal. Patients with this condition most frequently experience neck pain, clumsiness with their hands and legs, and burning sensations in the extremities.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease can also affect the head and neck, as many patients who seek care at Champlain Spine and Pain Management are looking to control pain in their neck and arms that develops as a result of disc degeneration in their neck. Sometimes, symptoms can begin mild before they worsen as the “cushioning” between the vertebrae further wears down.
Disc injuries can also affect the head and neck, where discs are likely to herniate as a result of sudden straining, movement, and aging. In the cervical spine, disc injuries are likely to cause localized discomfort as well as pain that radiates down the arms. In some cases, patients may also experience weakness in their legs as a result of a disc injury in their neck.
Facet Joint Pain
Facet joint pain develops when the cartilage that lines the two facet joints on either side of your spine begins to degenerate. Over time, these joints can be affected by arthritis and other conditions that cause significant pain and stiffness in the neck.
With millions of people experiencing migraines every year, migraines one of the most commonly treated conditions in our office. Migraines differ from headaches because they come with warning signals, often referred to as “auras.” These migraines may last for hours or even years. Patients with migraines can also experience nausea and vomiting as a result of the pain from their migraine.
Occipital neuralgia is a type of headache that is marked by piercing pain that runs up the neck, back of the head, and ears. Unlike other types of headaches, occipital neuralgia is often caused by irritation or injury of the occipital nerves. Some patients can experience this condition without any severe injury to their neck; sometimes, tight neck muscles could be all that’s needed to trigger this type of headache.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) is a common condition that causes pain, locking, and stiffness in the jaw. Though TMJ tends to have flare-ups rather than constant pain, patients who are experiencing pain, clicking, or stiffness in their jaw should always consult a specialist to gain a diagnosis and treatment plan aimed at keeping them healthy and comfortable.
Whiplash is a serious neck injury that is caused by a forceful back-and-forth motion of the neck, such as during a car accident. While some cases of whiplash can be mild, only resulting in minor discomfort, severe instances of whiplash could cause damage to the spine, nerves, and ligaments of the neck.
Who Can Experience Head and Neck Pain?
The long and short of it is that anyone can experience head and neck pain. Something as simple as sleeping in an incorrect position can cause lasting neck pain, making it clear that this issue isn’t necessarily more closely related to one group of people or another.
Men and women of any age are likely to experience head and neck pain at some point in their lives. Athletes, however, may be more likely to experience discomfort in their neck due to sports injuries.
Treatments for Head and Neck Pain
At Champlain Spine and Pain Management, we offer our patients the best in care by using the latest technology, clinically-proven techniques, and experienced doctors and medical professionals to target the cause of your back pain and manage your symptoms.
During your consultation, your provider will discuss your history, concerns, symptoms, and goals with you. This is an important part of the process as we begin to put together a treatment plan that’s created to best treat your head and neck pain.
Some of the most common and successful treatments for head and neck pain that we provide are:
Medial Branch Block
When someone is suspected of having an injury to their facet joints, which can cause pain when flexing, bending, and twisting the neck, this diagnostic procedure is performed to identify the specific facet joint, or joints, that are affected.
Cervical Epidural and Cervical Transforaminal Steroid Injections
These injections relieve pain in the head and neck that are caused by pinched nerve (or nerves) in the cervical spine. Conditions such as herniated discs and spinal stenosis can compress nerves, causing inflammation and pain. This procedure helps decrease the swelling of nerves and can provide pain relief for several weeks.
Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Neurotomy
Also known as radiofrequency rhizotomy, this minimally-invasive procedure uses heat from radio waves to treat painful joints in your neck that haven’t responded to medications and other therapies.
Want More Information? Contact Us
If you’d like more information about the treatments we provide for head and neck pain, or if you’d like to schedule your appointment, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Our team is here to support you with the best information and services possible.