Spinal Ligament Injuries and Neck Pain

Spinal Ligament Injuries and Neck Pain

If you have seen a doctor for neck pain, and nothing is flagged as suspicious on an X-ray, the issue may be in the ligaments. Sometimes injured ligaments are the culprit when you have persistent pain in your neck, perhaps after a physical trauma or as a result of repetitive motion.

The Spine and its Ligaments

The human spine consists of thirty-three vertebrae, linked by ligaments, or connective tissues that attach bone to bone (1). These ligaments are crucial to the proper function of the spine; they help to keep the vertebrae stable and in place during bodily movement (2).

As shown in this visual from TeachMeAnatomy, the cervical spine is made up of five main ligaments. [9]


In the cervical spine, which is the section of vertebrae that makes up the neck, there are five main ligaments: the anterior longitudinal ligament (ALL), posterior longitudinal ligament (PLL), supraspinous ligament, interspinous ligament, and the ligamentum flavum (2). These important ligaments help one to turn and move the neck, so if any ligament suffers an injury, it can cause unbearable discomfort.

Spinal Ligament Injury

Ligaments can be injured in a few different ways: stretched, partially torn, or fully torn. A slight cervical strain (also called whiplash) is relatively common, and usually not extremely painful (5). A full tear in a spinal ligament would be a much more serious issue, since unsupported vertebrae could slip out of place and become unstable (2).

A range of traumas can cause spinal ligament injury: prolonged strain resulting from repetitive motion, immediate strain resulting from something like an amusement park roller coaster, or blunt trauma resulting from car accident, or contact sports, to name a few (2). This sort of injury might manifest in the form of muscle spasms (4). Additionally, those with poor posture, or people with certain careers – nurses, dentists, manual laborers, office workers – can be more susceptible than the average person to spinal ligament injury, either because the ligaments are being stretched and hyperextended, or, hardly moving but under pressure (4).

Symptoms

If you have seen a doctor for neck pain, and nothing is flagged as suspicious on an X-ray, the issue may be in the ligaments. The symptoms of a ligament injury in the cervical spine are as follows: pain, especially in the back of the neck, that worsens when moving, lack of ability to the move the neck, pain that increases over time following a neck injury, muscle spasms, particularly in the shoulder, headaches concentrated in the back of the head, and a tingling or numb feeling in the arms (8).

PRP Treatments

If you often have neck or lower back pain that you think may have resulted from a ligament injury, there may be a solution for you.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) treatments are relatively newer non-invasive medical procedures for spinal ligament injuries (6). PRP treatments are unique in that they separate the platelets, natural healing elements, from the rest of the blood, and then use them to target pain or injury in a certain place in the body (6). During a PRP treatment, a doctor would inject platelet rich plasma into the patient’s affected area, and the high volume of white blood cells and platelets would begin to repair the injured area at a higher rate of speed than normal (6).

Regenexx specializes in a very effective type of PRP treatment, which we call Super-Concentrated Platelet-Rich Plasma treatment (SCP). This means that the platelet solution is far more concentrated (20-40x more) with platelets, which makes these healing parts of the blood all the more effective for relieving pain (7). At Regenexx, the trusted team of doctors harvests cells from your own body and then, on that same day, uses an ultrasound to make sure the platelet concentration is injected into the correct, most precise area of pain (7).

If you have neck pain or an injury and think a Regenexx procedure might be an alternative to surgery,  find out if you’re a candidate today –Tap the “TALK TO AN EXPERT” BUTTON below.

References

SOURCES:

  1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/10040-spine-structure-and-function
  2. https://centenoschultz.com/ligaments-of-the-spine-understanding-their-importance/
  3. https://centenoschultz.com/anterior-longitudinal-ligament/
  4. https://spineconnection.org/back-pain-conditions/ligament-injuries/
  5. https://www.wakemed.org/care-and-services/orthopaedics/conditions-and-treatments/spine-and-neck/cervical-strain
  6. https://www.hss.edu/condition-list_prp-injections.asp
  7. https://regenexxpittsburgh.com/platelet-rich-plasma/
  8. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/neck-sprain/
  9. https://teachmeanatomy.info/wp-content/uploads/Ligaments-of-the-Lumbar-Spine.jpg

About The Author
Dr. Jesse Sally

Dr. Jesse Sally

Dr. Jesse Sally

Dr. Jesse Sally

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