Everything You Need To Know About Neck Pain
Neck pain is a very popular complaint that affects several individuals worldwide. Annually, over 30% of adults in the United States report one or more forms of neck pain.
Neck pain is a serious condition that interferes with a person’s daily activities, and it’s one of the major contributors to chronic pain among the adult population.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about neck pain and the latest effective and emerging treatments for neck pain.
What is Neck Pain?
Neck pain is a very common type of pain that affects the spine that supports the head. That part of the spine is popularly called the cervical spine. Neck pain can result from several causes that range from injury, poor posture, and strain.
Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain is usually caused by several factors. It could be as a result of muscle tension or strain originating from poor posture, strenuous exercises that involve jerking of the neck, and sleeping on the neck in a bad posture.
Also, neck pain could be a consequence of injury to the neck muscles or a consequence of existing medical conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and spinal stenosis. It is important to seek medical care if neck pain persists for weeks.
But, sometimes conventional therapies involving popular over-the-counter medications may not treat neck pain that persists for a few days to weeks.
Effective treatments for chronic neck pain often involve advanced procedures that are just minimally invasive and safe.
Minimally Invasive Procedures for Treating Neck Pain
If you’ve had neck pain that doesn’t go away after stretching exercises or after using over-the-counter medications, then you need intervention using advanced procedures. Whether you’ve woken up from neck pain or you’ve had it for some time now, the following are modern and effective methods for treating neck pain.
Trigger Point Injections
Trigger point injections are a safe, effective treatment for neck pain. Trigger points are painful knots that form when the muscles do not relax. They are common in the neck, shoulder, and back.
During this procedure, an anesthetic and/or corticosteroid is injected into the problem area. This relaxes the muscle and helps to relieve the patient’s pain.
Selective Nerve Root Block
Often, the best approach for treating a medical condition is by targeting the root of the pain rather than managing the symptoms of the problem.
Selective nerve root block for neck pain is an interventional procedure that targets the nerves around the cervical spine to numb pain transmission.
The procedure uses long-lasting steroid injections, such as cortisone, which is administered specifically to the nerve root of the cervical spine under fluoroscopic guidance. Because the procedure is selective and targeted, pain is effectively reduced, and recovery happens very fast.
Radiofrequency ablation is another interventional medical procedure that uses pulses of electrical currents to numb pain transmission. This procedure works effectively for even chronic neck pain that refuses to respond to conventional medical therapy.
Additionally, it is well-tolerated and only minimally invasive. As with most interventional procedures, recovery is fast, and the pain relief that will be experienced following the procedure is significant.
Interventional Spinal Injections
Interventional spinal injections are fast, simple, and effective treatments for neck pain that involve targeted administration of steroid medications into the spine.
The goal of these spinal injections is to reduce inflammation and provide immediate recovery to stiffened necks and shoulders. The procedure is also minimally invasive and usually takes a few minutes to complete.
Facet injections for neck pain involve direct administration of steroid medications into the facet joint. Facet joints are those joints within the cervical spine that adjoin the nerves and the blood vessels.
During a typical episode of neck pain, the facet joints become painful as a result of inflammation of the neck muscles. Facet joint injections reduce pain by reducing inflammation and numbing pain transmission.
Tips to Prevent Neck Pain
Chronic neck pain can be disabling. But it is also preventable. Here are a few tips to prevent neck pain:
- Maintain a supportive posture while working, standing, and even sleeping. You can achieve this by getting a more supportive pillow, work chair, and being conscious of your posture.
- Carry heavy items evenly. That is, if you carry a heavy item such as a bag or briefcase on one side of the body, it can put some pressure on your neck muscles. Ensure to walk with only necessary items to reduce the weight and stay conscious to keep your shoulder levels even at all times.
- Try as much as possible to avoid neck-straining when texting or chatting.
- Keep your computer monitor at eye level. If you ever have to look down while using your computer, then you may have to raise it up to your eye level.
- Periodically stretch after a while in order to avoid a stiff neck. You can do this by rolling your shoulders back and forth, briefly turning your head slowly from one side to the other, and occasionally squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Reduce stress. Sometimes the muscles of the neck just need some rest.