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Neck Pain Specialist

Ratnayake Pain Management

Dilangani Ratnayake, MD

Pain Medicine Physician & Anesthesiologist located in Palm Desert, CA

Whether you have a chronic ache in your neck or pain so sharp you can't turn your head, neck pain causes significant interference with your daily life. If you have persistent neck pain, interventional pain specialist Dilangani Ratnayake, MD, of Ratnayake Pain Management in Palm Desert, California, can help. Dr. Ratnayake delivers effective, conservative treatments and minimally invasive options like radiofrequency ablation and spinal cord stimulation to relieve neck pain. Call Ratnayake Pain Management today or use the online form to schedule an appointment.

Neck Pain Q&A

What causes neck pain?

Your neck is the top section of your spine, consisting of the cervical vertebrae, spinal cord, and supporting connective tissues. Damage or wear to these structures is the most frequent cause of neck pain.

Sports injuries and falls often cause neck pain, because your neck is more exposed than the rest of your back. The cervical vertebrae are also vulnerable to wear-and-tear over the years that cause degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis.

Other reasons you might have neck pain include:

  • Whiplash injuries
  • Cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerves)
  • Bone spurs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated discs
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Spondylosis
  • Osteoporosis 
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Failed neck surgery syndrome

Sleeping in an awkward position can make your neck stiff and sore or cause pinched nerves. Also, stress and the muscle tension it causes can give you chronic neck ache.

How is neck pain diagnosed?

The first step in diagnosing the cause of your neck pain is a physical exam. Dr. Ratnayake feels the structures in your neck and observes how well you move, noting which positions cause the most pain.

Using this information together with your medical history and current symptoms, Dr. Ratnayake can identify the likely cause of your neck pain. She might order further tests to confirm the diagnosis and evaluate the extent of any tissue damage.

The types of diagnostic tests you might require include:

  • X-rays
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Myelogram
  • Bone scan

Once she identifies the cause of your neck pain, Dr. Ratnayake can draw up an appropriate treatment plan.

How is neck pain treated?

If you only have mild, acute neck pain, you might be able to self-treat by resting, avoiding activities that make the pain worse, and using hot and cold compresses to relieve pain and inflammation. Anti-inflammatory painkilling medication might also be necessary.

More severe cases of neck pain or neck pain that doesn't improve after a few days of self-treatment require expert attention. After diagnosing the cause of your neck pain, Dr. Ratnayake might recommend treatments such as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Heat therapy
  • Therapeutic ultrasound
  • TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
  • Acupuncture
  • Trigger point injections
  • Cervical nerve block
  • Facet joint injections

Another option for neck pain is an epidural steroid injection, which is injected into the epidural space to reduce inflammation. This treatment can ease your neck pain temporarily so you can continue your physical therapy or another rehabilitation plan.

The majority of patients successfully recover from their neck pain following these initial treatments. If you're still experiencing significant pain after three months, Dr. Ratnayake might suggest alternative approaches.

One of these is radiofrequency ablation, which uses thermal energy to temporarily disable the pain nerves in your neck. The other is spinal cord stimulation, which involves getting an implant that uses electrical pulses to disrupt pain signals.

If you have neck pain, don't let it become a chronic problem that stops you from leading an active life. Call Ratnayake Pain Management today or book an appointment online.