A neck specialist in Los Angeles can help provide range of motion and comfort.
The mobility and function of the neck is largely influenced by what’s going on with its supporting structures. The cervical spine’s ability to effectively bear the weight of a 12-13 pound head can be affected by everything from sleeping positions and posture, to motions associated with high-energy sports and work-related activities.
- While most neck issues are related to muscle strain and likely to go away within a few days or weeks, there are certain problems that can have a long-term impact on range of motion and comfort.
- It’s issues like these that a neck specialist in Los Angeles is prepared to address with patient-specific care.
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“Cricks” are the twinges of pain you might feel when turning your head in a certain direction. This type of discomfort usually results from muscle spasms, trigger points, or underlying health issues such as arthritis or a herniated or slipped disc. Most of the time neck cricks will go away with home remedies and over-the-counter medications. If any resulting pain lasts longer than a few weeks or makes it difficult to go about your daily activities, it’s time to consider seeing a neck specialist in Los Angeles.
Neck strain is any type of injury affecting the muscles of the upper spine. Symptoms can range from mild aches and discomfort associated with movement to severe pain and impaired range of motion. Muscle strains are rated from grade I through IV based on severity of symptoms. It’s grade III and IV strains that usually involve some type of nerve or structural damage. Strains of this nature that often require the attention of a neck specialist.
If you’re seeing a neck specialist in Los Angeles for a neck sprain, then you have pain related to some type of injury to one or more of the ligaments in your neck. These are strong bands of connective tissues that hold bones together. Discomfort that gets worse with movement, headaches, neck stiffness, and tingling sensations that extend into the arms are among the symptoms often associated with a neck sprain. As is the case with strains, sprains are also based on grades, with the higher grades involving symptoms severe enough to require the attention of a specialist.
Resulting from a sudden back and forth movement or a severe twist or turn of the neck, whiplash is a specific type of neck injury that can severely strain, sprain, or injure soft tissues. Often associated with car accidents, whiplash may also be caused be a hard fall or a sports-related injury. Since symptoms may not appear right away following this type of injury, you may be referred to a neck specialist in Los Angeles to determine if structures in your neck have been damaged enough to eventually become a source of pain. Treatment usually involves a combination of techniques that may include physical therapy exercises, gentle stretches, ultrasound, injections, and massage therapy. Surgery is rarely necessary for whiplash unless discs in the neck have been damaged.
A disc becomes “herniated” when soft inner material pushes outward. Pain is experienced when the herniated disc material compresses a nearby nerve root. Discomfort from a cervical herniated disc, which may develop following sudden trauma or as a result of age-related wear, can start off as mild and become increasingly distracting over time. Other times, the pain is debilitating enough to affect daily life. Unless symptoms are life-threatening, treatment typically involves medication, traction, injections, bracing, activity modification, and other conservative remedies. If these efforts aren’t effective, a neck specialist may suggest exploring surgical options that include disc removal and fusion.
Any of the seven bones of the cervical spine may become fractured from sudden trauma or age-related degenerative changes affecting vertebrae and spinal joints. Treatment for a neck fracture will depend on which vertebra is affected and the severity of the break in the bone. A mild compression fracture may respond well to temporary bracing for 6 to 8 weeks. Complex cervical spine fractures sometimes require traction, a rigid cast, or surgery. The risk of experiencing a neck fracture can be reduced by wearing protective gear when playing sports and avoiding risky activities like unsupervised diving or driving without a seat belt.
Sleeping on a pillow that’s too high, bending your head down to use your various devices, and stress are all factors that can contribute to neck problems that you can do something about. Paying attention to form when playing sports and working out and staying away from fatty, fried, and sugary foods that tend to contribute to inflammation can also be helpful. For times when neck pain becomes worse or doesn’t respond to lifestyle changes, home remedies, or initial treatment attempts, a neck specialist in Los Angeles is be able to identify the problem and suggest treatment options likely to provide relief.