A neck injury is commonly caused by trauma and can be the result of gradual strains, sudden movements or direct blows to the head and shoulder region.
Depending on the type of injury, symptoms can vary in severity and may appear immediately, as in the case of whiplash – a sudden distortion of the neck, or increase in intensity over a period of time such as with an untreated herniated disc.
Symptoms of neck injuries can range from stiffness and immobility to numbness and weakness in certain limbs.
Chronic Pain Management
Chronic pain refers to any pain lasting in excess of six months. There is no clear cause, as the term applies to any long-term discomfort arising from an initial injury. Chronic pain can occur in virtually any part of the human body and often contributes to other residual health problems including fatigue, decreased appetite, mood swings, and a lack of mobility. These difficulties negatively affect a person’s ability to lead a comfortable lifestyle. Many advances in modern medicine are helping people to manage their chronic pain more effectively to reduce suffering and enhance a patient’s quality of life and functionality. We will fully evaluate your condition and design a holistic, individually tailored plan to help you return to your life.
Transforaminal Epidural Injection
A transforaminal epidural is another way to introduce saline, local anesthetic and steroid medication into the spine to reduce the inflammation of spinal nerve roots and their surrounding tissues. The transforaminal epidural is a well-renowned treatment for its ability to accurately pinpoint a specific spinal nerve root level. In this procedure, a needle is guided into the foramen section of a patient’s spine using fluoroscopic imaging. The foramen is the hole on the side of the spine, through which nerves extend to a patient’s arms, neck, legs and lower back. The local anesthetic administered usually takes effect immediately, while a steroid solution can take between three and five days to provide anti-inflammatory benefits, which can last up to several months.
Lumbar and Cervical Epidural
An epidural is the therapeutic injection of a pain relieving drug or steroid which is injected into the epidural space of the spinal canal. Lumbar and cervical epidurals can be administered at any place along the spine, from the cervical (neck) area, to the thoracic (middle) section and lumbar (lower) region. Similar to nerve blocks, epidural injections decrease the inflammatory factors located in a patient’s spine. The treatment usually requires two to three days to take effect, peaking within seven days and providing up to two months of consistent relief before the numbing effect subsides. The lengthy effect of the epidural makes it an effective means of managing chronic pain among long-term sufferers.
Trigger Point Injection
A trigger point injection is used to treat muscles that are in spasm, painful, or unable to relax. Trigger points in these muscles may irritate the nerves around them, causing referred pain in other areas of the body. During the procedure, a needle is inserted into the muscle and a small amount of local anesthetic is used to sedate the muscle, allowing it to relax. Trigger points usually take effect immediately and can last from hours to months.
Facet Nerve Block
A facet nerve block entails administering anti-inflammatory injections into the facet joints of a patient to relieve swelling and promote body movement as a therapeutic treatment, or to identify a source of pain as a diagnostic treatment. The procedures is performed using x-ray guidance down to the nerves that innovate the affected facet joint(s). Facet joints are located between vertebrae in the spine, allowing them to move against each other for an effective range of motion. Patients experiencing chronic neck and back pain, from conditions such as arthritis and whiplash, are leading candidates for facet nerve block treatment. Patients may be given a pain diary to determine whether nerve blocks applied to a certain area have helped to relieve a patient’s pain over the three days following treatment. If the blocks provide relief for a few hours only, the patient may be a candidate for radiofrequency ablation of the nerves to the facet joint. This procedure would typically provide 12 months of relief, if successful.