Cervical (Neck) Spinal Pain

Is neck pain preventing you from leading a full and active life? Our minimally invasive regenerative treatments could help you enjoy your life the way you want to.

Most people will experience neck pain at some point in their lives. Your head is not only heavy, weighing around 5kg for adults, it’s almost always moving. While your neck is strong, supported by a number of muscles, it also needs to be flexible. Because of this, necks are vulnerable both to injury and various conditions that cause pain.

This area is known as the cervical spine and it consists of seven bones (vertebrae) that are separated by cervical discs.

Cervical discs are filled with a gel-like substance that acts as cushions for the vertebrae (bones) and also allows the spine to move freely. Over time these discs wear down, the vertebrae narrow, and the nerve roots can become pinched, which causes pain and discomfort.

This process is known as cervical degenerative disc disease. It’s mostly found in people over 50, but younger people can also develop cervical spine pain.

What treatments does The Regenerative Clinic offer?

Our renowned medical team provides a range of treatments, from the traditional to the innovative:

This is an effective and well-researched procedure that’s a potential alternative to surgery. It takes advantage of the blood’s natural healing properties to reduce pain and improve joint function. It uses a specially concentrated dosage of platelets prepared from your own blood to repair damaged cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscle and bone. Patients usually see their symptoms improve in one to two weeks of having the injections. Read more clinical evidence supporting PRP here.

Also called facet or nerve root blocks, they are recommended if you’ve not had much success with the first-step approaches of painkillers, rest, stretching and physiotherapy.

What causes neck pain?

Neck pain can have a number of potential causes, from poor posture or sleeping badly, to injury or nerve compression. The main cause is wear and tear of the cervical discs due to age.

As children, the cervical discs are approximately 85% water. As we age the discs lose hydration, causing them to thin, to lose their cushioning and to tear or crack.

The weakening of the cervical discs can restrict the movement of the neck and cause pain and discomfort, particularly at the end of the day. 

What are the symptoms of neck pain?

The pain may be either a sharp or a dull ache, and can be felt anywhere between the base of your skull and your shoulders. Other symptoms include:

  • Stiffness and tightness
  • Spasms and headaches
  • Tingling, numbness or weakness that start in the shoulder and which travels down to the arm and hand
  • Sharp pains that starts in the shoulder and which shoots down the arm
  • Pain that worsens with movement

The pain and discomfort may build up overtime or it can suddenly occur.

Symptoms of cervical spine pain tend to lessen over time, but if the pain becomes chronic (it lasts for longer than 12 weeks), it could be linked to a herniated disc, osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis.

In severe cases, the spinal canal can narrow significantly, and this can cause damage to the spinal cord. This can affect people’s balance, movement of their arms and legs and cause weakness and numbness below the neck. 

How is neck pain diagnosed?

If you are experiencing upper back / neck pain, a doctor will examine you applying pressure to different areas to see where it hurts. In some cases, the doctor may refer you to have an: 

  • Spinal X-ray – to see if there any other bone problems which could be causing the pain
  • MRI – using a magnetic field and radio waves a detailed image of the affected is created which can reveal subtle changes in the soft tissue and bones
  • CT scans – which uses radiation to create detailed images of the body
  • Myelogram – an X-ray of the spinal canal is taken after a substance is injected into the cerebrospinal fluid spaces, to see if there is pressure on the spinal cord or nerves due to a herniated disc, bones or tumours

What are the non-surgical options for neck pain?

Treatment for cervical spine pain aims to relieve symptoms and improve the function of the neck and spine.

Initial treatment may include medications such as analgesics which help reduce the pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – NSAIDS – which reduce the pain and inflammation and steroid injections which reduce inflammation and provide short-term relief.

Your doctor may recommend applying ice packs to the area for a few days and then switching to heat packs for another couple of days. If you do this, it’s important to place a cloth between the ice and your skin to prevent you getting an ice-burn.

A brief spell of bed rest and limiting strenuous movement may help reduce some of the symptoms of cervical spine pain.

You may be referred to see a physiotherapist or chiropractor who will show you a range of exercises that can help reduce pain and increase your flexibility. 

Our expert team specialises in treating cervical spine pain using advanced Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) in the facet joints and paraspinal muscle PRP injections.

What are the surgical options for neck pain?

Surgery is rarely recommended for cervical spine pain, but if your symptoms don’t improve using non-surgical options, and day-to-day activities become limited then surgery may be recommended.

Two types of surgery are offered for cervical spine pain; anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and disc replacement.

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) involves removing the affected disc, decompressing the nerve root and widening the disc space using a bone graft or an artificial graft.

Disc replacement is where the affected disc is removed and replaced with an artificial disc.

Both of these procedures aim to preserve the movement of the cervical spine.

If surgery is recommended your consultant will discuss which option is best for you.

Why have a consultation at the Regenerative Clinic?

Our experienced consultants will undertake a thorough examination exploring non-surgical and surgical treatments. They’ll also discuss your suitability for our state-of-the-art biological therapies.

Who will my consultation be with?

Your consultation will be with one of our spine specialists, Mr. Shahid Khan, Professor Mohammed Al-Jumaily or Dr. Stefano Palmisini and will last approximately 30 minutes. On the day, or the day before you will be asked to attend for an MRI scan.

As well as undertaking an examination, our specialists will take details of your medical history and discuss your symptoms. They will also detail all your treatment options and cover their potential benefits and risks.

Our expert team comprises of highly experienced surgeons, sports medicine doctors and physiotherapists who are committed to delivering a high level of care and the correct treatment option so you can quickly get back to moving around.

The first step is to book a consultation for a thorough assessment. Click here to make an appointment.

What is the autologous biological approach and when should it be considered?

Autologous translates as ‘from the same person.’ In brief, it involves using your own cells to encourage healing. The major benefits are that there is no chance of rejection, infection or contamination as you are using cells from your own body rather than a donor. We offer a range of therapies based on this principle which can be considered if traditional treatments including surgery aren’t relieving your pain.

Clinical evidence

Biological treatments are pioneering procedures and we’re continuously monitoring and recording its effectiveness. Patients undertaking these treatments are asked to complete pre-operative and post-operative questionnaires.

The information obtained from these questionnaires allows us to monitor your progress and it also contributes to our evidence-based database and other global studies on biological treatments. All information gathered is anonymised.

Intradiscal and intra-articular facet infiltrations with ‘Endoret’ plasma rich in growth factors reduce pain in patients with chronic low back pain. Read full paper.

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We offer appointments nationwide and now working with partners abroad providing cutting edge Regenerative Medicine to patients in Dubai, Australia, Spain and Pakistan.

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Join us for the first of our webinars on Wednesday 1st April at 5:30pm, when Professor Adrian Wilson will be explaining how regenerative treatments such as Lipogems® can reduce pain, increase mobility and even avoid the need for a knee replacement.

To book a place CLICK HERE we have limited spaces available.

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