Neck Pain Treatments
In order to effectively treat neck pain, it’s important to understand the underlying medical condition that’s causing the pain. While acute neck pain is commonly a result of a sprain or strain, chronic neck pain is often caused by injury to the facet joints and intervertebral discs in the lower cervical spine.
Risk Factors for Developing Neck Pain
Research indicates that getting unhealthy amounts of sleep, being inactive, smoking, working longer hours or being in a labour-intensive occupation, may increase the risk for neck pain.
Most instances of neck pain will go away within a few days or weeks. Neck pain that persists for months can be a sign of an underlying medical issue that needs to be addressed. Irritation along the neck’s nerve pathways can cause neck pain which may extend to the shoulder, head, arms or hand.
Neck pain can develop suddenly, such as from Whiplash (an injury caused by a severe jerk to the head, typically in a car accident), or it may develop progressively over time, from years of poor posture, wear and tear or ageing.
Self-Care for Neck Pain
- Rest. Taking it easy for a few days is sometimes all that is needed while the muscles and tendons heal on their own. It is important to avoid strenuous activities or awkward movements that can worsen the pain.
- Ice and/or heat. Ice can work as an anti-inflammatory reducing swelling and pain. Apply ice or cold packs initially for neck pain, as they can prevent the rate of swelling by temporarily closing the small blood vessels. After a couple days, ice or heat can be applied on an alternating basis. However, applying continuous heat can cause increased swelling.
- Massage. A massage can soothe muscle tension and spasms, reducing pain.
- Better posture. This may involve improving the setup of workstations to become more ergonomically friendly; or learning to sleep on an ergonomically friendly pillow and mattress.
- Modify lifestyle. If certain activities are found to cause neck pain that keeps coming back, then those activities might need to be limited or avoided.
- Over-the-counter medications. These are available to either reduce or hinder pain signals from reaching the brain. These drugs must however be used with caution, so read the entire label for directions and warnings.
- vertebene© disc capsules. A nutritional supplement containing a unique combination of high-quality natural ingredients, developed by Orthopaedic surgeons and Pharmacists, designed to aid and support patients recover from neck pain. The ingredients contribute to the elasticity and stability of the spine, has anti-inflammatory and pain reducing properties and contains Type 2 Collagen which is a structural protein that plays an essential role in building cartilage.
Consult a medical professional for an evaluation if neck pain keeps returning, lasts for more than four weeks, or if there are other troublesome symptoms.
Care for neck pain typically starts with nonsurgical treatments, such as one or more of the following:
- Physical therapy. Usually includes some form of physical therapy to improve neck strength and flexibility.
- Prescription pain medications. Prescription-strength medications may be tried if an over-the-counter pain reliever has not been effective.
- Cervical epidural steroid injections. Injections can help reduce the pain and enable the person to return to normal day-to-day activities whilst being able to progress with a physical therapy program.
- Cervical facet injections. Injections of steroids into the specific joints can reduce the neck pain that is caused by irritation of the facet joints.
- Trigger point injections. Injections designed to reset the normal orientation of irritated muscle bundles.
- Manual manipulation. A health professional, such as a chiropractor, may make manual adjustments to the spine in an effort to improve range of motion and reduce pain. In addition, anything the individual can do to lead a healthy life, will also aid in neck pain reduction. Moderate aerobic activity for example, several times each week, or stopping smoking, can be beneficial for most types of neck problems.
- If nonsurgical treatments fail to reduce neck pain, then surgery may be required.
Reasons for Neck Surgery – There are 3 common reasons to have surgery for a problem in the neck:
1. To remove the damaged disc and/or other structures irritating a nerve root.
2. To stabilise the cervical spine.
3. To decompress the spinal cord.
The surgeon is responsible for educating the patient on all their options, both surgical and non-surgical.