Cervical Spine (Neck)

The specialty trained doctors at Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine are recognized leaders in the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of Cervical Spine Injuries

Whether you are suffering from a recent or chronic cervical spine condition that is adversely affecting your ability to live life under your terms we may be able to help.

The cervical spine consists of a series of seven vertebral bones attaching from the base of the skull to the thoracic spine. Many structures pass through the bones of our neck such as nerves arteries and blood vessels. When trauma or repetitive activities occur this can predispose us to different types of injuries. The cervical spine is also home to many nerves, ligaments and muscles that help provide stability to our spine.

Some symptoms associated with cervical spine injuries include:

  • Pain and tenderness throughout the muscles of the head and neck
  • Muscle tension and stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Numbness and tingling into the neck, shoulder and upper extremity
  • Muscular weakness into the arms and hands



This is an injury that occurs to the muscles and ligaments (soft tissue structures) in the cervical spine when the neck is quickly forced into forward movement (flexion) and then quickly forced backward (extension). This usually occurs in automobile accidents and athletic injuries that involve a force or blow from behind forcing the cervical spine into these rapid and violent motions.



Degenerative disc disease (DDD) in the cervical spine is an arthritic process that occurs in the discs of the spine, as we age. The discs act as shock absorbers and bear weight, when they begin to degenerate, this can result in many different problems, including pain and stiffness in the cervical spine. As we age the discs in our neck have a tendency to lose their hydration and flatten which predisposes us to chronic conditions. The most common area of the spine associated with DDD is the cervical and lumbar spine.



Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD) is the most common form of arthritis that affects the joints in our body. In the cervical spine DJD will affect the vertebrae, facet joints and intervertebral discs. In between our joints we have a substance known as articular  cartilage that lines the joint surfaces and aid in protecting our bones. Over time the cartilage will wear away resulting in pain and stiffness in the joints and muscles of the neck.



The facet joints in the cervical spine are small joints in the back of the neck that are surrounded by a joint capsule that aid in movement of our neck. As a major contributor to pain in the spine these joints often break down and become arthritic over time. When inflammatory changes occur in these joints, pain is produced during extension (looking up) of the spine. Often times individuals with facet joint problems will demonstrate a forward flexed posture to relieve the stress on the facet joints.



In between each vertebrae in the neck there are soft cartilage based pads known as intervertebral discs (IVDs). These discs aid as shock absorbers and help bear weight. There are two layers that make up the IVDs. The outer layer (annulus fibrosis) and the inner layer (nucleus pulposus.) The inner layer is a soft gel center that often migrates to the outside when there is an injury in the annulus fibrosis layer of the disc. In between each vertebrae is an exiting nerve root. When a disc herniates it often will put pressure on these nerve roots leading to pain and altered sensation into the neck, upper extremity and into the hand.



Cervical radiculopathy is a condition that occurs when there is compression on the nerve roots that exit between each of the vertebrae in our neck, traveling to our arms and hands. A herniated disc or arthritic bone spurs are often responsible for compression on the nerve. Patients will typically experience severe pain in the neck with pain, numbness and tingling into one or both upper extremities.



Myofascial pain is a problem that occurs in the muscles and fascia (outer layer of connective tissue) of the cervical spine, which can lead to areas of tension in the muscles which are known as trigger points. Trigger points when stimulated or compressed can refer pain into the neck and shoulders. The most common area for trigger points to build up in the neck; upper back and shoulder are the upper trapezius, levator scapulae rhomboids, and rotator cuff muscles. When trigger points exist in these locations they can produce pain that will refer in a specific type of pattern throughout the head and neck.


Why Choose Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine?

Whether you are suffering from a recent or chronic cervical spine condition that is adversely affecting your ability to live life under your terms, we may be able to help.

To have a consultation with one of our doctors, please contact one of our Patient Care Coordinators at 908-754-1960 or you may book now online.