Common Neurological Neck Conditions and How They Are Treated
Neurological neck conditions, also known as neurological cervical conditions, cover a range of disorders that cause pain and discomfort in the neck region, including sprains, loss of function and disc displacement.
Here is a helpful description of common neurological neck conditions and how they can be treated by a qualified neurosurgeon
- Brachial Neuritis: This neurological cervical condition is commonly associated with pain and loss of function in the nerves that carry information from the brain to the spinal chord. It’s a fairly rare condition and the cause is unknown but fortunately, the symptoms often resolve themselves over time. Treatment largely revolves around managing the pain caused by this condition through medication, rest and healthy living.
- Cervical Disk Displacement: This condition is caused by a herniation between the discs in the spine, often called a slipped disc. This condition can happen to anyone but is more common amongst younger patients. Symptoms include pain associated with neck movement, weakness in the area and numbness. Treatment can include rest, physical therapy and injections to manage the pain. Surgery is only needed in very severe cases.
- Cervical Osteophytes: These bone spurs are smooth growths that occur in the neck that can cause pressure on the spinal chord and nerves, resulting in damage. Back and neck pain are common symptoms as the joint will become inflamed, and can be accompanied by muscle spasms, numbness, radiating pain, tingling sensations and loss of coordination. Treatment can include steroid injections to reduce swelling and pain, physical therapy and rest.
- Cervical Radiculopathy: This refers to pressure on the spinal nerves in the neck, often caused by a slipped disc or other conditions that affect nerves and nerve roots. Symptoms often include numbness, sharp pain in the arm and shoulder that increases with movement and weakness in the arm. Treatment may include changes to diet and exercise, medication and physical therapy. Surgery will only usually be considered for severe cases.
- Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy: This is a neurological neck condition caused by arthritis that targets this specific area. Usually a result of the natural aging process, this condition compresses the discs in your neck that usually provide a protective cushion for the vertebra, causing pain and discomfort. Other symptoms include headaches, arm weakness, stiffness in the neck, loss of bladder control and trouble keeping your balance. Treatment includes muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories and steroid injections. Surgery will only be considered in serious cases.
- Cervical Stenosis: When a narrowing of the upper spine and neck region occurs, it is known as stenosis. It often starts gradually and becomes worse and more persistent over time, causing neck pain, numbness and weakness in the legs and occasionally the loss of bladder control. This neurological cervical condition can be treated with anti-inflammatories, pain medication and physical therapy.
- Neck Pain: This can be symptomatic of a wide range of neurological neck conditions, including arthritis, age-related conditions and even physical trauma. Many of these can be serious because of the effect they have on our day-to-day lives, but both non-surgical and surgical treatment is available for many of them from a qualified neurosurgeon.
- Neck Strain/Sprain: This is essentially caused by a stretched ligament or muscle in the neck region, often due to physical trauma. Although the neck may not appear injured, strains and sprains can cause pain, tiredness, dizziness and ringing in the ears. Treatment includes pain medication, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants and, in some cases, a neck brace.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may have neurological neck or cervical condition. Contact a board certified neurosurgeon today and find out about possible treatment.