Neck Pain Treatment

Most physicians will initially recommend, rightly or wrongly, a conservative neck pain treatment plan to help a patient cope with neck or back pain. Methods involved may include heat/ice therapy, massage, medications and/or physical therapy. In many cases this is all that is needed and the patient’s problems may be relieved without recourse to more invasive measures.

Surgical Intervention for Neck Pain

Surgery is rarely the first neck pain treatment option. Usually surgery is a last resort once all other methods of treatment have been exhausted, unless there is convincing evidence that surgical intervention is the best way to ease or remove the pain or the cause of the condition. The use of x-rays, MRI or CT scans can identify problem areas, such as bone spurs, torn and herniated discs, thickened and calcified ligaments and compression of nerve roots in the spinal column.

Motivations for performing surgery on the neck or spine include preservation of correct inter-vertebral motion, cessation of problematic inter-vertebral motion, and removal of pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. Surgeons will normally attempt to minimize the invasiveness of the procedure, approaching from the anterior (front) or posterior(back) of the neck as appropriate. The patient should understand the purpose of the surgery and have clear and realistic expectations of outcome prior to going into theatre. If unhappy with the neck pain treatment plan they have the right to acquire a second opinion and should only undergo surgery when happy that they fully understand their options and likely result.

Neck Pain Treatment

Alternative Therapies

Those suffering from neck pain may decide to try alternative neck pain treatment modalities if unhappy with the potential side-effects, or results of conservative therapy. Alternative treatments include acupuncture and acupressure, herbal and nutritional medicine, yoga, pilates, chiropractic and osteopathic care. In some countries they may be able to incorporate one or more of these so-called complementary treatments into their regular orthodox care regimen.

Patients should employ common sense and caution when exploring alternative therapies as some markets are unregulated and may actually exacerbate the problem if an unscrupulous, unqualified and unlicensed ‘practitioner’ is given free reign over their treatment. Most alternative therapies now have some kind of recognized regulatory body and patients should check a clinician’s credentials prior to therapy.

The following pages give more detail on each course of action allowing the patient to appreciate their options and assert control when managing their own recovery and neck pain treatment.