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Expert solution for Chronic Neck pain and Headaches

Dr Surya Raguthu

by Dr. Surya Raguthu
The most common pain that many patients suffer is neck pain and headaches. The cause for these pains is usually caused in atlanto-occipital joint, these joints connect the vertebrae, the bone of your spine when you move. The neck area of the spine is called the cervical region which consists of seven joints . The uppermost of these joints connects the skull (also called the occiput) to the first cervical vertebra (also called atlas). Its called AO (Atlanto-Occipital). Half of total neck forward bending and backward bending comes from AO joint.

How to determine AO joint pain or detect joint injury. The symptoms are muscle tension but other times the pain may be severe. Sometimes the cartilage inside the joint is injured. Other times it is the connecting ligaments surrounding the joint that are injured. The pain occurs in upper neck area or it can cause headaches.

To determine the cause of pain the common tests such as X-ray or MRIs scan is prescribed, but sometimes further procedure like AO injection is needs to detect the exact location of pain if not found through X-ray or MRIs scan. AO injection, a local anesthetic (numbing medicine) are injected into the joint. And the steroid helps reduce the inflammation.

This injection is used to diagnose or treat your pain. If it temporarily lessens your pain, and if it helps you move better, it tells the doctor which joint is causing the pain.

The procedure is simple and very effective . A local anesthetic will be used to numb your skin. The doctor will then insert a thin needle directly into the AO joint. Fluoroscopy, a type of X-ray, must be used to ensure the safe and proper position of the needle. A dye may also be injected to make sure the needle is at the correct spot. When the doctor is sure the needle is at the correct place, the anesthetic and steroid will be injected. It takes skilled hands to attain precision of this procedure to be successful.

Neck Spine Head Dr Surya Raguthu article copy

What happens after the procedure is you will monitored for 30 minutes. When you are ready to leave, the staff will give discharge instructions and a pain diary because it helps your doctor know how the injection is working. It may help to move your neck in ways that hurt before the injection, to see if the pain is still there, but don’t over do it.

The extent and duration of pain relief may depend on the amount of the inflammation and how many areas are involved. Other co-existing factors may be involved. Some time the injection can bring several weeks to months of pain relief, and then more treatment is needed. The procedure is simple and less complicated the key is to spend enough time during the whole process to get the best results and Dr.Raguthu from Ace Pain Management, Sugar Land, has been doing procedures like this very for a long time with the best results.

Dr. Surya Raguthu, M.D, ABIPP, ABPMR, CIME, has 15 years of experience in Pain Management and excels in Sports Medicine, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitative Medicine. His mission is to enhance the health and well-being of seniors, adults, and children in our communities to help them lead a quality life. His motto is “Live Pain Free.” Please visit www.acepain.com for details.


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