Neck pain, shoulder pain, chest pain… is it a heart attack? Those who have suffered a myocardial infarction (MI) often describe a range of sensations that include these kinds of pain, along with general discomfort and a tightness, pressure, heaviness, or even a crushing sensation in the middle of the chest. So how can you tell if it’s a heart attack, neck pain from a pinched nerve, muscle strain from using your smartphone too frequently, or simply indigestion? Can neck pain be an early warning sign of a heart attack even months in advance of one occurring? Read more
Neck surgery can be performed to treat debilitating pain caused by degeneration in the cervical area of the spine, but this option is recommended only for a minority of patients and, even then, often just as a last resort. Some causes of neck pain, such as normal wear and tear and the inevitable aging process, are simply unavoidable. Nevertheless, there are many things you can do to minimize your risk of developing the types of neck and back conditions that often stem from years of poor posture or body mechanics. In addition, if you are already experiencing neck pain due to an injury, strain, degenerative disc disease, or other known cause, there are a variety of conservative treatment options available that may alleviate your symptoms and delay or eliminate your need for neck surgery. Read more
A slipped disc, also commonly referred to as a herniated disc, can result from injury, improper lifting, or age-related wear and tear. As you grow older, the shock-absorbing discs located in between the individual vertebrae of your spine gradually lose their youthful elasticity and water content, which makes them more susceptible to tearing and rupture. A torn disc is colloquially known as a “slipped” disc, although while discs can become misshapen, they do not technically slip out of place.
While often painful, a slipped disc can also sometimes manifest without any symptoms at all. In any case, if you do experience back pain, neck pain, or weakness, numbness, or tingling in your back, arm, or leg, you could have an injured disc and you should see your physician right away to obtain a proper diagnosis. Oftentimes, when begun early, conservative treatment for a slipped disc is very successful in helping patients to cope with this sometimes debilitating condition and get on with their lives. Read more
Oftentimes, a herniated disc causes discomfort that stems from damage to the outer shell of one of the flexible cushions that separate the stacked vertebrae of the spine. Each intervertebral disc has a tough outer covering called an annulus fibrosus, and this outer layer surrounds a soft inner core. The top one-third of the annulus fibrosus has nerve endings, and if there is a tear in the annulus fibrosus, the nerve endings can become irritated and painful. In addition, the tissues of a torn disc can impinge on a nearby nerve root, resulting in pain, numbness, weakness, or a pins and needles sensation in the extremities. So, you may ask, what causes a disc to tear in the first place? There are actually many factors that can lead to a herniated disc. While some causes, such as improper lifting techniques, are avoidable, others, like simple genetics, are not. Read more
At first glance a 1996 court ruling about breast size might appear to have little to do with neck pain, but the ruling in this case supported the notion that breast reduction surgery is medically necessary to relieve neck pain, headaches, and shoulder pain in some patients. So how do heavy breasts cause neck pain, if at all, and what can you do about it? Read more