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Treating Cervical Pain
Cervical pain occurs in your neck and is a common ailment in a society where we bend over our cell phones, crane our necks toward our computer screens, and carry stress in the upper area of our bodies. No matter if the cause is lifestyle or health related, cervical pain can be debilitating.
The steps for effectively treating cervical pain usually depends on its cause. An experienced physician such as NYC Spine Surgeon Dr. Fischer at NYU Langone Medical Center in NYC in Manhattan will perform an examination and diagnostic tests to get to the root cause of your discomfort. Some common tests include X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs.
Once a diagnosis is made, NYC Spine Surgeon Dr. Fischer will develop an appropriate treatment plan. Cervical pain treatment may consist of a variety of different things, depending on the severity of the pain and its cause. Here are some typical ways that cervical pain may be treated.
Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen sodium are some of the first pain treatment approaches. If these aren’t effective, muscle relaxants or tricyclic antidepressants for pain relief may be prescribed.
Heat and cold
Alternating heat and cold is another common approach, especially when the diagnosis is related to muscle or ligament strain. Applying cold packs for up to twenty minutes a few times a day can be helpful. Alternating this cold treatment with heat may also be effective, such as using a heating pad on low or taking a warm shower.
NYC Spine Surgeon Dr. Fischer may suggest wearing a soft collar to support your neck and remove pressure from your cervical structures. This is typically recommended for a short time, such as a few hours at a time and not for more than a couple of weeks.
Corticosteroid medication to reduce pain can be injected by NYC Spine Surgeon Dr. Fischer at NYU Langone Medical Center in NYC near the nerve roots of your cervical spine or into your neck muscles. This injection can reduce pain for a time period that allows you to heal more comfortably.
A qualified physician may use a TENS unit, which is a device that delivers small electrical impulses into the painful areas of your neck to reduce pain.
A professional physical therapist can show you exercises to strengthen your neck muscles and ways to hold your body in proper alignment. Therapists also may employ ice, heat, electrical devices and more to treat pain and prevent injury.
Gentle stretching of your neck may be achieved using traction that employs weights or pulleys. This method, which should only be performed by a trained physician or physical therapist, has been shown to relieve neck and nerve pain in many patients.
In rare cases of cervical pain, surgery might be recommended. This is more often the case when the root cause is disease that needs to be treated using surgical intervention. NYC Spine Surgeon Dr. Fischer will only advise this option for patients who haven’t experienced relief through other less invasive methods. More often, neck pain responds well to other forms of treatment and patients are able to bounce back from cervical pain.
Schedule an appointment today if neck pain is impacting your life.