The Neck

Comprised of seven cervical vertebrae, the neck is a complex structure supporting the head. Great discomfort results from arthritis in the neck. Neck pain is caused from muscles, nerves and ligaments problems, as well as the bones and joints of the spine.

Neck Pain and Headaches

Cervicogenic headaches are caused by referred neck pain. Referred pain is pain that moves away from where it originates. In your case, the pain source is in your neck, and the pain radiates to the back of your head, into one or both temples, and one or both of your eyes. However, cervicogenic headaches—while felt in the back of the head, and sometimes in the temples or behind the eyes— arise from a problem in the upper cervical spine. Because the upper 3 cervical spinal segments share nerve tracts with cranium itself, pain is misunderstood and thus "felt" by the brain as being located in the head. Sadly, many patients are misdiagnosed and treated each year as suffering from migraine or cluster headache, and do not receive a proper diagnosis or treatment for their cervicogenic headache disorder.

Whiplash (Cervical Sprain and Strain)

Whiplash is when the soft tissues of the neck are injured by a sudden jerking or "whipping" of the head. This type of motion strains the muscles and ligaments of the neck beyond their normal range of motion. When a vehicle stops suddenly in a crash or is struck from behind, a seat belt will keep a person's body from being thrown forward. But the head may snap forward, then backward, causing whiplash.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the spinal cord that causes pressure on the spinal cord, or narrowing of the openings (called neural foramina) where spinal nerves leave the spinal column. Spinal stenosis may be caused by:


Cervical Disc Disease (Herniated Disc)

Cervical disc disorders encountered in Physical Therapy practice include herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP), degenerative disc disease (DDD), and internal disc disruption (IDD). HNP implies extension of disc material beyond the posterior margin of the vertebral body. Most of the herniation is made up of the annulus fibrosus. DDD involves degenerative annular tears, loss of disc height, and nuclear degradation. IDD describes annular fissuring of the disc without external disc deformation. Cervical radiculopathy can result from nerve root injury in the presence of disc herniation or stenosis, most commonly foraminal stenosis, leading to sensory, motor, or reflex abnormalities in the affected nerve root distribution.

Cervical Spondilosis (Osteoarthritis)

Cervical spondylosis is a disorder in which there is abnormal wear on the cartilage and bones of the neck (cervical vertebrae). Cervical spondylosis is caused by chronic wearing away (degeneration) of the cervical spine, including the cushions between the neck vertebrae (cervical disks) and the joints between the bones of the cervical spine. There may be abnormal growths or "spurs" on the bones of the spine (vertebrae).

Facet Arthropathy

Facet joints are found in the posterior of the spine. There are 24 vertebrae which form the human spine. There are two facet joints between the vertebrae of each spinal segment along the spinal column. The facet joints and disc space form a three joint complex near each vertebrae. A facet joint has two bony surfaces with cartilage between them and a capsule of ligaments surrounding it. Synovial fluid lubricates the joints as is the case with any joint.

Cervical Myofascial Pain

Cervical Myofascial Pain originates from the vertebral spine in the neck correlating to muscle and its surrounding fascia (sheath of connective tissue supporting or binding together internal organs or parts of the body.). The diagnosis of this syndrome in clinical, with no confirmatory laboratory tests available.Thus, myofascial pain in any location is characterized on examination by the presence of trigger points located in skeletal muscle. In the cervical spine, the muscles most often implicated in myofascial pain are the trapezius, levator scapulae, rhomboids, supraspinatus, and infraspinatus. A trigger point is defined as a hyperirritable area located in a palpable taut band of muscle fibers.


Cervical Sprain and Strain

Cervical strain is one of the most common musculoskeletal problems encountered by generalists and neuromusculoskeletal specialists in the clinic.