Show Summary: Chronic Neck Pain
This week, Dr. Cassaro discussed Chronic neck pain.
Chronic neck pain can become a real "pain in the neck". In acute cases, the person suffering from neck pain usually knows the injury that is responsible. For many other people with chronic neck pain, there is no sign or memory of an injury that causes it. In this show we discuss treatments for chronic neck pain resulting from:
Slip and fall/whiplash
Arm pain -referred
Arm weakness- referred
Ringing in ears-referred
Low back pain- referred
Decreased range of motion
Neck weakness (bobble head)
Q- What are some effective treatments for
chronic neck pain and the referred pain that may result?
A- It's important to first note that determining the true cause of your pain is as important as the treatment for it. Not all pain is the same, and not all treatments work for your particular pain condition. Seek the advice of a professional before receiving treatment for your pain.
Chiropractic care is very effective in relieving pain in the neck. It is especially effective if it is done immediately following an injury. For past injuries and arthritis, a chiropractor can move and reposition joints so the pain and pressure is reduced. A chiropractor is a great addition to a comprehensive treatment plan for your chronic pain.
An inversion table is a device that locks you feet in a flat board which then tilts backward. It looks and operates much like a see-saw at a playground. Inversion tables use gravity to gently pull or stretch the spine. This takes pressure away from disks, ligaments, and joints that are causing pain. An inversion table can (and should) be used daily. It is an affordable medical device, and can even be used by those not suffering from pain as a means of possible prevention.
Sometimes, ligaments are responsible for misalignment of the spine, and weakness/pain in the neck. Prolotherapy is a medical procedure where a specialist injects a substance on ligaments; triggering an immune response, and therefore a healing response.
Prescription topical medications
Certain topical medications can be applied to the neck and are very effective in reducing pain from such conditions as arthritis, nerve pain, and muscle pain. Your physician will consult with a compounding pharmacist to determine the best combination of active ingredients for your pain.
There are lots of medications your doctor may inject for pain relief. Some act to reduce minor pain, and some are effective for a year or more. Determining the cause of your pain is the most important aspect to determining the type of medication to be injected.
This procedure is used to permanently burn the nerves carrying the pain signals to your brain. In instances where the pain is caused by one or a couple nerves, this procedure is very effective. Only certain nerves can be rendered in this way, or loss of function may result. It is important that your doctor isolate the exact cause of your pain for this procedure to be effective.
This is an implanted medical device that disrupts the pain signals in the nerves. Although the condition that is causing your pain may not be treatable, the pain is. This procedure is effective when a large volume of nerves and soft-tissues are affected by a pain condition, or for referred/radiating pain.
In some cases, a fracture or bone degeneration has existed too long; and are unable to be treated. In this case, your doctor may decide a fusion is the best way to strengthen your neck and reduce your pain. Many people report excellent range of motion and strength after a fusion procedure.
Sometimes, the pain you are experiencing in your neck is really because of a hormonal problem. Two people can have identical problems in their neck, but if one has a metabolic/hormonal condition; the pain can "feel" much worse. Your doctor can evaluate your metabolic function through specialized testing, and make adjustments accordingly.
Certain nutritional supplements may help to reduce pain, and even assist in the healing/recovery process. A few of these include: Glucosamine, fish oil, Vitamin C, all B Vitamins, Alpha Lipoic acid, and Selenium. Hydration is also important, and drinking electrolyte based drinks like Pedialyte may help.
Other treatments may include: