Non-surgical treatment, also called conservative treatment, generally is effective for most forms and causes of neck pain. Some neck pain goes away with time, other people may find that pain relief is possible through a change in lifestyle or behavior. All in all, the cause and severity of neck pain will determine the form of treatment necessary to relieve it. The most important point to remember is that a health professional should be consulted before you undertake any form of treatment for neck and back pain.
Among the non-surgical treatments your physician may recommend are exercise to strengthen the neck muscles, over-the-counter pain medicine like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, or modifying your daily activity to help relieve stress on the cervical vertebrae and spinal column.
Here are a few other non-surgical treatments your physician might suggest:
- Epidural injections. The epidural space is where nerve roots are located along the spine. Anti-inflammatory drugs can be injected into the epidural space to help relieve nerves that might be inflamed or impinged by a bulging disc or other neck pain causes.
- Physical therapy for neck pain. A trained therapist can prescribe an exercise regimen designed to strengthen the neck muscles and help reduce your pain. Some sufferers of degenerative disc disease in the neck can manage their pain through physical therapy.
- Hot or cold pads. Heat applied to a sore neck will increase blood flow and could improve range of motion. Cold pads will decrease blood flow and will help limit inflammation. A physical therapist might alternate heat and cold during a therapy session.
- Therapeutic massage for neck pain. This can help relax the neck muscles and reduce pain in the short term.
- Acupuncture. Some believe the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body can help relieve pain. Acupuncture has been used by some as an alternative to massage to achieve short-term pain relief.
- Chiropractic therapy. A chiropractor makes manual adjustments to the body, primarily to the spine, in an effort to relieve back or neck pain.
If you continue to experience chronic neck pain after weeks or months of non-surgical treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute (LSI) for a free MRI or CT scan review, and to learn about minimally invasive, outpatient procedures to help you rediscover a life without pain. Our gentle endoscopic procedures have helped tens of thousands of patients worldwide find relief.