Neck pain has several causes, and your condition might be temporary or chronic. Before your doctor can determine the best way to treat your neck pain, the cause has to be determined. Your treatment might consist of ice and rest, or you might need surgery. Here's a look at some neck pain treatments your doctor might recommend depending on the cause of your pain.
Steroid Injections For Painful Inflammation
If your pain is caused by chronic inflammation due to a herniated disc or spinal joint problems, your doctor might recommend a steroid injection. With this procedure, the doctor injects a corticosteroid directly into the painful area on your neck.
Steroids are strong anti-inflammatory drugs, and you may have long-lasting effects from a steroid injection. However, the effects eventually wear off, so the injections don't cure your neck pain, they just help control it when you're having a bad episode. Plus, the injections may keep pain at bay while your condition has time to heal.
Neck Surgery For Nerve Compression
If your neck pain is caused by a compressed nerve, pressure on your spinal cord, or a problem with your discs or joints, cervical spine surgery might be needed to decompress or stabilize your spine.
Neck surgery could entail a spinal fusion, removal of a disc, placement of an artificial disc, or decompression surgery so your nerve is no longer irritated and painful.
Physical Therapy For Posture Imbalances
Neck pain isn't always caused by neck joint or disc problems. Your neck muscles can become unbalanced due to poor posture, especially if you keep your head bent down or tilted up all day while you work or use a tablet.
Even something like holding your head in the same position for a long time when driving or working on a computer can cause some muscles to weaken and others to overdevelop.
This can be a problem, especially when you have poor posture, that leads to neck pain. Physical therapy helps restore muscle balance in your neck along with improving flexibility and range of motion.
Chiropractic Treatments For Misalignment
Chiropractic treatments, such as a spinal manipulation or trigger point massage might even help with neck pain. A deep massage that relaxes muscle fibers and breaks up scar adhesions on trigger points might help when your pain is caused by a muscle injury or overuse. A cervical spinal manipulation might be helpful if your spine is out of alignment due to muscle imbalance or an injury.
Rest And Ice For Minor Stiffness
If your neck pain is minor and sudden, such as happens when you sleep on your neck in a bad position, your doctor might recommend using an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug and resting your neck a few days. Ice packs can help with inflammation, and heat may help if the problem is a sore muscle in your neck.
A stiff neck that develops from sleeping the wrong way should go away fairly quickly. If your pain persists, gets worse, or is caused by an injury, have your neck evaluated by a doctor so you can get the treatments you need to relieve your pain.