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Treating Neck Pain
  • June 12, 2020
  • Written by: Dr. Atul Wankhede

Treatment of neck pain depends on the source of pain. As you must have already read my blog on the different natures of neck pain, the treatment to each one, although linked, is slightly different.

So to begin with, one needs to first identify the source of pain. They are broadly categorised in bony, joint related, muscular, ligamentous, neurogenic and less known vascular in origin. At times there's more than one culprit, and needs special tests and investigations to identify them. But most common pathology I've treated for neck pain is muscular spasm.

After identifying the source of pain, one needs to introspect the reason it appeared. Some exertion, prolonged wrong posture (due to phone/computer usage or thick pillow), or just a routine conscious or sub conscious work habit, besides a million other things are known to cause it. Hence the introspection, which will tell us why YOU are suffering with it. And there always is a reason. Once that one or more activity is identified, it needs to be stopped, controlled or modified.

The relief of acute pain is then undertaken by means of 1. Rest, 2. Ice application (or sometimes heat), 3. Physiotherapy (stretches/exercises/ultrasound or other suitable modality), 4. cervical collar (in extreme recurrent cases) and 5. Medications (either local or oral).

Sometimes the pain that starts to radiate to hands or shoulder, suggesting it's neurogenic origin, needs further evaluation with MRI, nerve conduction study etc to confirm the diagnosis, which then requires urgent surgical attention to decompress the affected nerve.

In all, the pain should be acutely managed, lifestyle should be effectively modified and lastly and most importantly - 'muscles need to be strengthened adequately' so as to prepare the neck for any future circumstances.

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