Sounds like your cervical spine. No imaging done? If not, I would recommend having an MRI of your cervical spine done. Secondly, it could just be tight neck muscles affecting your cervical spine.
Do you take any OTC meds for this?
Pain in the neck and shoulder region is often dismissed as muscle pain. However, it may not always be so. Neck pain may sometimes extend till the arm and fingers, which may be a cause of severe discomfort. This could be one of the many symptoms of pinched nerve in neck.
What is Pinched Nerve in Neck?
Due to various reasons, sometimes nerves which radiate from the intervertebral areas in the neck get compressed. This leads to stress on the nerve, which emanates pain in the neck and adjoining areas like shoulders, arms and fingers, and upper and lower back. Pinched nerve in neck is also known as cervical radiculopathy.
Causes of Pinched Nerve in Neck
Spinal arthritis: More commonly known as neck arthritis, this is a condition caused due to wear of the joints, or onset of osteoarthritis, which could also be aggravated due to wrong neck postures. Often, there is formation of bone spurs, which leads to nerve compression or pinching.
Degenerative disc disease: Mostly seen in elderly people, degenerative disc disease is viewed as a normal aging process of the disc, where due to continuous wear and tear, the thickness of the disc decreases, leading to increased proximity of the cervical vertebrae with the nerve getting trapped in between.
Herniated disc: Often called slipped disc, a herniated disc is one, in which the center core of the disc extrudes into the spinal canal, forming a bulge which leads to compression of the nerve. Although, this commonly occurs in the lumbar region, it may also occur in the neck.
Sudden injury or trauma due to an accident: An impact driven blow in the region of the head and neck could cause irreversible damage to the spinal disc or the cervical vertebrae, leading to pinching of nerve.
Pinched Nerve in Neck Symptoms
Pain in neck is usually one of the first few signs seen in cases of pinched nerve in neck. This may be a sign that occurs before any other symptoms, which prompts patients to dismiss it as muscle pain or muscle fatigue.
Simple numbness, tingling or burning sensation in the adjoining areas like shoulder region, arms and fingers, without mild pain, may be one of the signs. This radiating pain is often called referred pain. Conversely, there may be increased sensitivity seen in some cases.
Muscle spasm in adjoining areas, accompanied by severe pain.
Sometimes, pain and other symptoms may be seen in one or both arms in a patient. This is referred to as cervicobrachial syndrome. The radiating pain in the upper limbs may be acute and sharp shooting in nature (which is an indication of involvement of the dorsal root ganglion) or it may be dull aching in nature (which is a sign of involvement of nerve root).
Sometimes the pain is diffused in the upper parts of the body, spread out in the shoulder and upper arm region, which makes it difficult for the patient to pin point the painful areas and its source.
Headaches in the back region of the head (the occipital region) or headache in temple region.
Due to occipital headaches, pain may also be felt in areas behind the eyes.
Pain may be felt individually in each finger, which assists in diagnosis of the nerve that is getting pinched.
There may be delayed reflex response or a feeling of weakness in muscles.
All symptoms of pinched nerve in neck could be worsened instantly by sudden jerky movements of the neck like coughing, sneezing, etc.
These were a few symptoms of pinched nerve in neck. Although most cases do not need surgery and can be cured with a decent success rate, it is of utmost importance that, if any patient displays pinched nerve in neck symptoms, his case be diagnosed at the earliest to avoid any further complications.