Back and neck pain

Neck pain? Lower back bothering you? It's possible that a cervical or lumbar disorder may be the reason for your pain and discomfort.

Most common spine problems can be linked to a cervical or lumbar condition. Experts at HonorHealth diagnose and treat virtually all types of spine issues, including those caused by wear and tear, abnormal growths or "spurs," muscle or nerve injuries, and more.

Neck pain

Chronic neck pain usually results from a condition called cervical spondylosis. This abnormal wearing of the cervical spine, including the cartilage, bones and joints in the neck, can damage the nerve roots and/or spine. In some cases, the condition also causes irritating or painful abnormal growths on the bones of the spine.

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Neck pain risk factors

Since cervical spondylosis is caused by wear and tear, age is the biggest risk factor. X-rays can detect signs of the condition in most adults by about age 60.

In addition to increased age, other risk factors for cervical spondylosis include:

  • Past neck injury
  • Severe arthritis
  • Past spine surgery

Neck pain diagnosis

Your doctor may use one or more of the following tests to diagnose your cervical disorder:

  • CT scan
  • Spine MRI
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • X-ray or CT scan after dye has been injected into the spinal column

Neck pain symptoms

While cervical spondylosis affects everyone differently, the most common symptoms include:

  • Neck pain, which may radiate down the arms or shoulders
  • Neck stiffness that worsens over time
  • Loss of or abnormal sensations in the shoulders, arms and/or legs
  • Weakness in the arms or legs
  • Headaches, particularly in the back of the head

Additional, but less common symptoms are:

  • Balance issues
  • Decreased bladder and/or bowel control

Neck pain treatment

In most cases, conservative, non-surgical treatments are effective in eliminating or easing the symptoms of cervical spondylosis. Your doctor may suggest one or more of the following treatment options:

If these treatments aren't effective in managing your pain or if you experience a loss of movement or sensation, surgery may be your next step. Surgery to treat cervical spondylosis generally helps relieve pressure on the nerves or the spinal cord.

Back pain

Lower back pain, which is often tied to a lumbar disorder, is the second most common reason Americans see their primary care doctor each year. However, the causes of lower back pain and the related treatments often require treatment from neurologists and/or orthopedic spine surgeons who specialize in spine care.

If you're having lower back pain, it could be caused by an injury or condition affecting your spine, muscles, nerves or nearby structures in your back. In some cases, lower back pain could actually be linked to mid or upper back issues or even problems related to a hernia or the reproductive organs.

Back pain symptoms

Your lumbar disorder may present in different ways, including:

  • Tingling or burning sensation
  • Dull ache or sharp pain in the lower back
  • Weakness in your legs or feet

Back pain diagnosis

Diagnosing a lumbar disorder begins with your doctor asking a series of questions to assess the location, type and severity of your pain or discomfort. If home remedies like ice therapy, mild painkillers, exercise or physical therapy fail to alleviate your symptoms, then additional testing may be needed to pinpoint the cause.

Your doctor may used the following methods to diagnose your lumbar disorder:

  • Physical exam to assess strength and mobility
  • Nerve function to evaluate reflexes
  • Sensory tests to detect possible nervous system issues

Diagnostic tests may include:

  • CT scan
  • Spine MRI
  • X-rays
  • X-ray or CT scan after dye has been injected into the spinal column

Back pain treatment

Your doctor will exhaust all non-surgical options to treat your lumbar disorder, ensuring a conservative approach to care. Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor may use the following treatment methods:

Physical medicine and rehabilitation

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