The cervical spine is the most delicate part of the back and is composed of seven cervical vertebrae. Unlike other sections of the spine, the cervical spine is extremely flexible. This mobility can produce a high load on the musculature and a strong wear of the vertebrae that can cause pain. In addition, certain nerves can be irritated and damaged and discomfort can appear as tingling, burning or numbness.

Cervical nerve pain may appear transiently or be constant and persistent. If the cervical pain persists for more than three months, chronic pain is mentioned. The discomfort may appear at irregular intervals and sometimes acute pains occur for a few minutes. In general, the causes of neck pain are relatively mild and the pain diminishes after a period of three to six days.

The treatment of cervical nerve pain is chosen according to the specific causes that have caused the discomfort. If the pains are the result of tensions, most of the time they disappear by themselves. Massages made with care or the application of local heat can mitigate the discomfort considerably. To relax the musculature, a transcutaneous electrical stimulation of the nerve can be performed.

If the cervical nerve pain is strong it can help the taking of analgesics (for example, acetaminophen), non-steroidal anti-inflammatories that reduce inflammation (for example, ibuprofen or diclofenac) or muscle relaxants.

In order to not weaken the cervical musculature, it is important to continue with the usual activity as soon as possible once the treatment has been completed. It is recommended to temporarily avoid jobs that exert direct pressure on the upper planes and other tasks that require rigid postures. Sports activities, on the other hand, favor mobility, strengthen the muscles and reduce the risk of relapse. However, we must also avoid the types of sports that overload the vertebrae such as jogging or cycling. If the causes of cervical pain are psychic, relaxation techniques or psychological counseling can help.

Physiotherapy and so-called spinal gymnastics have shown long-term success in the treatment of chronic cervical pain. In these cases, those affected learn so much to behave daily without harming their backs as to avoid especially damaging movements. Chiropractic measures should be renounced as "placements" in the area of the cervical spine, due to the risk of injury to the blood vessels or involvement of the vertebral joints.

If cervical nerve pain does not improve with physical therapy, medications and pain killers then you should consider a cervical spine injection. The injection can target a single nerve ie nerve root block or a group of nerves ie cervical epidural.

On rare occasions (for example in the case of a herniated disc), if the cervical nerve pain does not improve with conservative measures, surgery may be necessary.

At the London Spine Unit we are experts at treating cervical spine nerve pain.

Essentially Medical Mr Mo Akmal  researchgate  bbc2

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