Neck Pain Treatments
Neck pain is an extremely common problem and will affect most of us at some point during our lifetime. Many people don’t realize that the bones in the neck are actually part of our spine – known as our cervical spine. This means that problems that occur lower down in the spine can have an effect on the movement and sensations experience in the neck.
Fortunately there are a range of different treatments that mean that you don’t have to live with a pain in the neck any longer than necessary.
Common causes of neck pain
In many instances, a patient might wake up with neck pain and not have any idea what has caused it. Often in these cases, the pain lasts for a few days and then disappears as suddenly as it started. Nevertheless, there are also some factors that are well known for causing some degree of neck pain, ranging from mild to severe. These include:
- Sleeping with your neck in an awkward position.
- Bad posture when you are sitting/working.
- An injury, such as a slip or fall where you have twisted your head, or whiplash, which is very common in vehicle collisions.
- A pinched nerve somewhere in your spine.
- A musculoskeletal condition such as arthritis of the cervical spine.
If you are suffering from neck pain, you are probably finding that it is having a significant impact on your ability to do your usual day to day activities. This is because, unless we are sat watching a movie without interruptions, we make small movements with our head virtually constantly without realizing it - even during our sleep, where we have little control over our body movements.
Fortunately, there are a variety of different treatment options that should enable you to manage or eliminate your discomfort.
Treatment for neck pain
There are many different treatments for neck pain, and initially you will certainly want to try and ease the discomfort yourself. Some of the at-home remedies that you may wish to try could include:
- Over the counter pain medications such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Alternating hot and cold compresses on your neck.
- Changing your pillow for one that is firmer and lower, as this will help to keep your cervical spine straight while you sleep.
- Gentle neck stretches and exercises.
However, if the pain and stiffness does not improve after a few weeks, you become worried about the level of pain that you are experiencing, or you have other concerning symptoms such as unusual sensations in your arms, then it is advisable to get checked out by your doctor as soon as possible. You may then be referred to a spine specialist.
Your spine doctor will be able to prescribe you with some stronger pain relief medications and may even suggest that you try corticosteroid injections, particularly if you have any swelling. Further types of therapy you may be offered will include physical exercises and advice on lifestyle adjustments.
However, if you have any of the following symptoms, you may be recommended for spine surgery:
- Tingling in your hands or fingers that won’t go away
- Pain or numbness in your arms
- Difficulty with your balance or walking
- Fine motor problems such as tying laces or buttoning up a shirt
You may also be referred for spine surgery if you have tried all of the non-surgical treatment options and have not found sufficient relief.
Surgery for neck pain
If you are recommended for surgery for neck pain, the exact procedure you need will depend on what we believe to be the underlying cause. Some of the most common types of surgery for neck pain include:
- Anterior cervical discectomy. This is used to relieve pressure on the nerve roots or spinal cord.
- Laminoplasty. This surgery creates more room for the spinal cord in the spinal canal.
- Cervical spine fusion. This is where two vertebrae are joined together to prevent the bones from rubbing against one another and causing pain.
Most neck surgeries involve a short stay in hospital while you start your recovery, and the need to commit to wearing a neck brace during healing. We will explain what you need to know about each surgery during your consultation.
If you are suffering from neck pain that just won’t ease, our professional and knowledgable team here to help. Please contact our offices today and let us take the strain out of your neck problems. Call 516-794-2990 to schedule your consultation.