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Cervical Spine Specialist

Patrick F. Doherty, MD -  - Neurosurgeon

Yale Neurosurgery New London

Patrick F. Doherty, MD

Neurosurgeon located in New London, CT

When you think about your spine, you probably think about your back. But the spine extends up to the base of your skull. This upper portion of your spine — your cervical spine — plays an important role in your body. Problems with your cervical spine can cause neck pain and limit your neck’s mobility. Fortunately, Patrick Doherty, MD, and his team at Yale Neurosurgery New London offer cervical spine treatment. Call the office in New London, Connecticut, or request an appointment online to get started.

Cervical Spine Q & A

What is the cervical spine?

The cervical spine is the upper portion of your spine. You probably know it by its much more common name: the neck. The seven vertebrae at the top of your spine make up your cervical spine, connecting your skull to your upper back. Each of these vertebrae has a hole through the middle, through which your spinal cord runs, allowing messages from your brain to reach the rest of your body. 

This portion of your spine does a lot of work throughout the day, supporting your head while allowing you to look up, down, left, and right. Even with proper posture, your neck muscles and the vertebrae in your cervical spine have continual work to keep your head supported and mobile while allowing blood flow to your brain and protecting your spinal cord. It’s no surprise, then, that cervical spine issues are common. 

What kind of issues can affect the cervical spine?

Many conditions can affect your cervical spine, including:


Osteoarthritis, or the wear and tear of the joints in your cervical spine, can cause neck pain. 

Cervical spine stenosis

Narrowing along the canal of your cervical spine can put pressure on your spinal cord, resulting in pain. 

Degenerative disc disease

Between each vertebra along your spine, a disc provides cushioning, allowing your spine to move problem-free. When these discs degenerate along your cervical spine, you feel pain as you move your neck. 

Herniated discs

Even if the discs stay healthy, they can slip out of place. This puts pressure on the nerves in your cervical spine, causing pain. 

How are cervical spine problems treated?

When you seek neck pain treatment at Yale Neurosurgery New London, Dr. Doherty and his staff first take the time to understand the root cause of your neck pain. Then, they help you understand it, too, while also explaining your treatment options.

Cervical spine treatment at Yale Neurosurgery New London starts with nonoperative options. That might include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Pain-relieving injections
  • Posture correction
  • Treatment of the condition causing the neck pain
  • Medication

If those treatments aren’t effective at relieving your pain, Dr. Doherty offers robotic neck surgery. As a board-certified surgeon with over 20 years of experience, he can help you choose the least invasive, most effective procedure for your specific cervical spine problem.

You don’t have to live with neck pain. For dedicated care for your cervical spine, call Yale Neurosurgery New London, or book your appointment online today.