The neck and back are closely related, and pain in one area can easily affect the other. Both neck and back pain have become lifestyle problems, due to prolonged sitting and incorrect working postures. Treating one area can help in subtly treating the other and also reduce the onset of pain.
Pain in neck and back can be due to strained muscles, wrong posture, injury or stress due to knots in muscles and can be easily treated with a number of ways such as physical therapy, muscle relaxants and trigger point injection. Also, facet joint arthritis occurs due to degeneration of joints in elderly, excessive strain in some type of jobs or injury. Physical therapy along with injection in the nerves that carry a message from these joints to the brain along with medications that can numb sensation and Radiofrequency Rhizotomy for long-term relief is performed by pain specialists. Disc prolapse of neck/ lumbar vertebrae can also cause back pain.
Read on to know the best ways to manage back and neck pain, as the following techniques work for both.
- Ice and heat therapy: Alternating heat and ice therapy can help reduce pain. It helps by reducing the sensation of pain and improving blood flow, thereby providing relief.
- Physical therapy: Exercising and stretching, whether as a preventive measure or as a part of therapy, can work wonders. It improves the agility of the bones and tendons, improves movement, reduces stiffness, and relieves pain. A program should be drawn up based on the patient’s overall health condition and symptoms. Patients should be monitored for any improvements or changes in symptoms.
- Pain medication: When nothing else works, then pain medications become the next course of action. These can be taken for immediate relief, but cannot treat the pain permanenetly.
- Steroids: Injecting corticosteroids into the bone and joint spaces can help with acute pain management.
- Collar or brace: A neck collar or brace is used to keep the neck in place to reduce movement and provide support, thereby, it helps in reducing pain.
- Acupuncture: Each area has associated pressure points in the body. These pressure points are identified and needles are applied to provide relief from pain.
- Massage: The Massage can help by stimulating tissues, improve blood flow and also to relax muscles. The herbal oils that are used provide added benefit too, and so periodic massages are being widely used for pain management of neck and back.
- Chiropractic therapy: This involves manipulation of the spinal cord with the belief that the spinal cord could be incorrectly settled. The cord is manipulated to get it to the correct location, thereby relieving pain and stiffness and improving movement
- TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation): The nerve in the affected area is stimulated by electrical impulses, thereby providing pain relief. This needs to be repeated at frequent intervals and is often reserved for acute cases.
- Surgery: Often, used as a last resort, where all other measures have failed. Whether it is a herniated disk or a pinched nerve, the cause is identified and then surgery planned. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!