Nonsurgical treatment of neck pain

Nonsurgical treatment, also called conservative treatment, is generally effective for many forms and causes of neck pain. While some neck pain goes away with time, other people may find that pain relief is possible through a change in lifestyle or behavior. The cause and severity of neck pain can determine the form of treatment necessary to relieve it.

If you are dealing with neck pain that is lasting more than a few days to a week, make an appointment with your primary care doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Understanding the full scope of options available to you can give you and your doctor a better chance of developing a care plan that can get you the relief you need.

Nonsurgical treatment methods

Among the nonsurgical treatments your physician may recommend are exercise to strengthen the neck muscles, over-the-counter pain medicine, or modifying your daily activity to relieve stress on the cervical vertebrae and spinal column.

Here are a few other nonsurgical treatments your physician might suggest:

  • Epidural steroid injections — The epidural space is the area right outside the protective covering the spinal cord. Anti-inflammatory drugs can be injected into the epidural space to help relieve nerves that might be compressed by a bulging disc or other neck pain causes.
  • Physical therapy for neck pain — A trained therapist can prescribe an exercise plan designed to strengthen the neck muscles and take pressure off the spine.
  • Hot pads or cold packs — 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 by a trained professional can help relieve pain.
  • Chiropractic treatment — A chiropractor can make manual adjustments to the spine in an effort to relieve neck or back pain.

Minimally invasive spine surgery

If you continue to experience chronic neck pain after weeks or months of nonsurgical treatment, surgery will start to be considered. Before consenting to a highly invasive traditional open spine procedure, reach out to Laser Spine Institute.

We perform outpatient procedures that are an alternative to the large incision and overnight hospitalization required by a traditional spine surgery. By using state-of-the-art technology our surgeons access the spine with a small, muscle-sparing incision that leads to a shorter recovery period with less scarring for patients.^

Contact Laser Spine Institute for your no-cost MRI review to see if you may be a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery. Our procedures have helped more than 75,000 patients worldwide find relief.