Neck Pain Specialist

The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles

Brian R. Gantwerker, MD

Neurosurgeon located in Santa Monica, CA & Encino, CA

On any given day, 10-20% of adults have neck pain, a problem that interferes with their everyday life and risks becoming a chronic problem. As a board-certified neurosurgeon, Brian Gantwerker, MD, at The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles has helped many patients find relief from their pain while retaining neck motion. To learn whether you’re a good candidate for minimally invasive surgery to alleviate your neck pain, call either the Santa Monica or Encino, California, office or book an appointment online.

Neck Pain Q & A

What causes neck pain?

The seven small vertebrae in your neck support the weight of your head while allowing full range of motion, which creates a higher risk of injury, overuse, and degenerative disease. The most common causes of neck pain include:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Whiplash
  • Herniated disc
  • Cervical disc degeneration
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerve)
  • Cervical stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)


Another common problem in today’s high-tech world is tech neck. This condition develops when your neck muscles are strained because you spend time looking down at your computer monitor, smartphone, or other digital devices.

What symptoms could I develop in addition to pain?

Neck pain alone can be excruciating, but it’s not the only symptom you might develop. You may have a hard time turning or moving your head. In fact, the slightest head movement can cause severe pain.

When you have a pinched nerve, you may also notice pain, tingling, and numbness radiating down your arm. In severe cases, you may also develop muscle weakness in your arms or legs.

You should seek immediate medical care if the pain radiates into your arms or legs or if your neck pain was the result of an injury. Otherwise, see Dr. Gantwerker when your neck pain is severe or persists.

How do you treat neck pain?

Treatment for neck pain begins with conservative therapies, such as temporary immobilization, adjusting your activities, and engaging in physical therapy to strengthen muscles, improve movement, and relieve inflammation and pain.

When conservative treatments fail, Dr. Gantwerker may recommend surgery to remove damaged structures, stabilize the spine, or decompress the spinal cord. These surgical interventions are especially beneficial when neck pain is due to cervical radiculopathy or degenerative conditions.

Whenever possible, Dr. Gantwerker performs an artificial disc replacement. When a degenerated or herniated disc is removed and replaced, the new artificial disc relieves pain and preserves neck motion. The other surgical option — removing the damaged disc and fusing the bones — restricts movement.

Since Dr. Gantwerker replaces cervical discs with minimally invasive surgery, only small incisions are needed. As a result, you experience less postoperative pain, your recovery is quicker, and scarring is minimal.

If your neck pain doesn’t improve with conservative treatment or it becomes debilitating, call The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles or book an appointment online.