Low back pain has long dominated conversations about chronic pain in American patients, but that’s slowing changing. For a variety of reasons, neck pain is increasingly attracting the attention of spinal doctors and researchers. In part because of our tech-addicted lifestyles, Americans are spending longer periods of time in positions that contribute to neck pain.
There are a number of different treatment options for pain patients depending on the cause and severity of your neck pain. We’ll try and provide a brief overview of your options here…
What are my treatment options for neck pain?
This can vary widely. Many people simply require an ice back, over-the-counter medication, and a good night’s sleep. In severe cases, spine or neck surgery may be necessary. Consult your doctor, who may refer you to a spinal specialist, for a more concrete diagnosis.
No, but really, what are my treatment options?
Home remedies are often the most effective for actue neck pain, also known as short-term neck pain. A combination of rest, ice, and painkillers can resolve acute pain in just four to six weeks. Some Americans seek chiropractic support as well.
However, chronic neck pain may require more involved treatments. For instance, because of the link between depression and back pain, your doctor might prescribe certain antidepressants. These have been shown to help treat both chronic pain and depression, in some cases.
Additionally, there are surgical options, like minimally invasive spine surgery. Because of the advances in spine surgery technology, spinal surgeons can now perform complex procedures on the human spine using minimally invasive techniques, reducing both the risk to patients and their recovery time. Often, spinal surgeons can perform these treatments on an outpatient basis.
How do I know if I need surgery or not?
Only your doctor can answer this question. But remember: most doctors will try conservative treatments first, and then move on to more intensive procedures.
How can I prevent neck pain?
In addition to a healthy diet, exercise, and plenty of sleep, avoid bad posture. Try to avoid slouching or keeping your head learning forward and down (also known as text neck!). If you sit for long periods of time at work, remember to get up and stretch your neck muscles occasionally.