Chronic neck pain can be frustrating and interfere with an individual’s daily routine and quality of life. Usually caused by damage to one of the cervical discs, the pain can lead to muscle spasms, and it often radiates through the shoulders and down one or both arms. Severe inflammation can also lead to numbness and movement difficulties. Fortunately, there are several approaches that patients can try to help alleviate the symptoms of neck pain ranging from conservative methods to minimally invasive neck surgery.
Using Cold or Heat
Experimenting with either hot or cold compresses can offer relief. Hot compresses can be used in the form of heating pads or disposable heat patches that can be purchased at pharmacies. Ice packs may also be helpful and should be wrapped with a layer of cloth. Neither hot nor cold packs should be left on for more than 20 minutes at a time, as prolonged exposure of either one can cause tissue damage.
Allowing the muscles around the neck to rest can help relieve chronic discomfort. Short periods of relaxation using a rolled towel to support the neck can give the muscles a chance to recover. Using a cervical collar prescribed by a physician can also help patients find relief as the inflamed muscles are given time to heal.
Stretching and other exercises that are designed to ease discomfort are best employed when prescribed by a physical therapist. Specialized techniques can be applied that help give patients a better range of motion, and strategies can be learned to avoid straining and aggravating the neck.
Medical and Surgical Interventions
When relaxation and other conservative treatments fail to adequately reduce neck pain, medical and surgical approaches may be used. And in some cases where significant disc damage is present, neck surgery may be an option.
For more information about treating your neck pain, reach out to the board-certified neck doctors at the Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Located in Santa Monica, CA we serve Beverly Hills and the Greater Los Angeles area and have an advanced diagnostic team that can help assess your neck pain and recommend the most suitable options for treatment. Call (310) 828-7757 and take the first step toward a pain-free lifestyle.