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Cervical Spine Disorders


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Cervical spine disorders involve the neck bones (vertebrae), and spongy discs between the vertebrae, joints, muscles, and ligaments. They’re caused by injury or degeneration (break down) of the structures in the spine from normal “wear and tear,” stress, smoking, or aging.

One of the main symptoms of a cervical spine disorder is neck pain. You may also have pain in the head, jaw, shoulders, arms, or legs, as well as numbness and weakness. Other problems include impaired coordination or balance, difficulty breathing, or loss of bowel and bladder control. Common cervical spine disorders include:

  • Cervical spondylosis: cartilage and vertebrae wear out abnormally
  • Cervical herniated disc: discs between the vertebrae rupture, protrude, or bulge out
  • Degenerative disc disease: discs between the vertebrae break down
  • Cervical spinal stenosis: spinal canal narrows around the spinal cord
  • Cervical myelopathy: spinal cord damage caused by stenosis or degeneration
  • Cervical radiculopathy: pinched nerve or compression

If you have pain or other symptoms of a cervical spine disorder, make an appointment with a physiatrist (physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor) at the University of Miami Health System. We’ll help you get moving, without pain.


During this test, you will receive an injection of saline into your disc(s) under image-guidance, either using CT or fluoroscopy (dynamic X-ray) technology. This is done to provoke any pain and/or abnormal response. It can show abnormal nerve pathways generating pain inside the injured/degenerated disc.

Electroneurophysiological testing is done with current and electrodes to determine nerve and muscle function/dysfunction and damage. Tests include electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS).


Neurostimulation, also called electrical stimulation, uses low-voltage electricity to stop the nerve impulses that cause pain. Examples include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), applied on the skin over nerve endings, and spinal cord stimulation (SCS), which is inserted under the skin.

Interventional spine procedures
These procedures use image-guided technology to deliver steroids and medications right to the pain source. Selective epidural injections, cervical facet injections, cervical selective nerve blocks, and discograms reduce pain and inflammation in the neck. This treatment is usually prescribed with physical therapy or exercise.

Ultrasound-guided injections
Ultrasound imaging allows doctors to view nerves, bones, tendons, and muscles. Combining this technology with injection therapy means we can deliver medicines to the exact trigger point to relieve pain and inflammation. Steroids and platelet-rich plasma injections are commonly used to treat neuromusculoskeletal pain.

Radiofrequency ablation
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive procedure that uses heat from radio waves to damage nerve tissues, disrupting their ability to send pain signals. This is performed on the facet joints in the spine.

Spasticity management
Therapies for spasticity relax muscle tightness and stiffness with medicines. Therapies include targeted botulinum toxin (Botox) injections for specific muscles, and intrathecal baclofen pumps that deliver medicine to the spinal fluid.

Why Choose UHealth?

Internationally-recognized Spine Institute in South Florida. The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is part of the renowned Spine Institute where research breakthroughs in spine disorders bring you the most advanced care possible.

Multispecialty care with teams built around your condition. Our rehabilitation team works closely with orthopedic specialists and surgeons, neurologists, neurosurgeons, and others to customize your treatment plan. You get a faster diagnosis and better care when we’re all working together for you.

Leading-edge, non-surgical and minimally invasive therapies for cervical spine pain.  You have access to the latest approaches to managing pain, including neurostimulation and interventional spine procedures — in a variety of inpatient (hospital stay) and outpatient (clinic) rehabilitation locations close to home.

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