Symptoms of Cervical Spine Pain

Feb 22, 2023
Symptoms of Cervical Spine Pain
Your neck houses your cervical spine, which consists of seven vertebrae, part of your spinal cord, and various nerve bundles. Pain originating in this region may not be your only symptom.

Your cervical spine, the portion of your spine in your neck, is the most flexible part of your spinal column. The musculature supporting your spine allows you to stay alert, turning your head side to side and nodding your head up and down. Most everyday neck movements don’t cause any damage or spinal wear. 

Neck pain is just one of the many symptoms that you might experience when something is wrong with your cervical spine. If your neck pain seems to be more than an irksome kink from sleeping in an unusual position, our pain management specialists Haddis Hagos, MD, and Brent Earls, MD, here at Pain Management Associates LLC in Greenbelt, Maryland, can make a diagnosis and provide the treatment and rehabilitation you need to alleviate symptoms. 

Like other pain originating from your spine, cervical spine pain often comes from nerve impingements of one or more of the many nerve roots in the area. Nerves in your neck can be compressed by common spinal conditions like:

  • Cervical spondylosis (natural wear of the structures in your neck)
  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal stenosis 
  • Bone spurs
  • Arthritis

Neck pain can also come from whiplash injuries even if the pain doesn’t appear immediately after your auto accident. 

You may wonder when neck pain needs an evaluation. Neck pain is just one of the multiple symptoms that can occur because of cervical spine issues: You should take account of other symptoms affecting you at the same time as you consider booking an evaluation. 

  1. Neck stiffness

Normally, your neck moves quite fluidly when you turn your head, nod, or crane your neck. If your neck mobility is limited and the stiffness doesn’t go away within a day or so, you likely have a cervical spine issue you need to address. 

You might also find that attempting to move your neck increases any pain you already feel at the baseline. 

  1. Pain in either of your arms

If you feel shooting pain down one or both of your arms, or other symptoms in your arms and hands like numbness, you might not initially connect them to your neck pain. Arm and shoulder symptoms arise from cervical spine complications quite often because of the specific nerve roots that come out of your spine in your neck. 

Those nerves run through your upper extremities and are responsible for your arms’ movements and sensations. When a nerve root in your cervical spine is compressed, your arms may become weaker, more painful, or altogether numb. You might also lose coordination in your arms, hands, and fingers, causing you to drop items more often or have trouble with fine movements like writing or typing. 

Altogether, upper extremity symptoms from cervical spine pain are called cervical radiculopathy, and it affects around 85 out of 100,000 people. 

  1. Headaches

Your cervical spine supports your head, so it’s no surprise that the pain can migrate from your neck into your head to become a headache. A cervicogenic headache is a distinct type of headache that originates in your neck’s bones, nerves, or tissues. You might initially mistake this type of headache for a more common type like a tension headache or migraine, but co-occurring symptoms indicate its true origin. 

This head pain sometimes comes with other neurological symptoms like dizziness or blurry vision, which your pain management specialist needs to know about. 

Do you have one or more of these symptoms with neck pain?

The earlier you seek treatment for your cervical spine pain, the more promising your treatment outcome is. We provide advanced therapeutic options to target the root cause of your neck pain and alleviate any symptoms that come from it. Schedule your individualized consultation for treatment online or over the phone with our friendly office staff at your earliest convenience.