Depending on the symptoms and based on the doctor’s exam, you may undergo a cervical spine x-ray or an Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan to better determine the exact cause of the pain. Not all causes of neck pain require imaging. Sometimes, an electrodiagnostic test called an electromyography/nerve conduction study is performed to determine which nerve is affected or whether there is another cause in cases of arm weakness or numbness with neck pain.
Treatments might include pain medications or physical therapy. Physical therapy might include gentle cervical traction, mobilization or exercises to stretch and strengthen the neck and to improve neck posture.
In cases not improving with conservative treatments, sometimes an X-ray guided injection of anti-inflammatory (i.e. corticosteroid) medication close to an irritated nerve root (i.e. cervical epidural steroid injection) may be helpful. You will be referred to see a spin surgeon in cases of new neurological problems such as muscle weakness, loss of balance, or loss of bowel or bladder control.
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