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A Basic Guide For Non-Operative Treatment Options For Neck Pain

March 27, 2017


Neck pain is one of the most common medical complaints around the world, but luckily most cases do not require surgical intervention. The majority of these complaints are managed with what we term ‘non-operative’ care using a treatment plan individually tailored to each patient. This treatment plan is generated using a variety of treatment options.


There are a variety of medications that may be prescribed for neck pain, depending on the specific case.

  • Corticosteroids are a group of hormones that actually have a very strong anti-inflammatory effect. This medication can often decrease pain, swelling, and stiffness associated with joints and soft tissues that are inflamed.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs {NSAIDs} specifically aim to decrease inflammation in soft tissues and joints. These medications are effective in decreasing pain as well. They may be taken short-term or for prolonged periods of time provided that liver and kidney functions are monitored.
  • Analgesic medications are our group commonly known as ‘pain killers’. These medications reduce the sensation of pain without actually changing the cause of the pain. These medications may be narcotic or non-narcotic depending on the severity of the pain and the preferences of the patient.
  • Muscle relaxants decrease muscle irritation and spasm which can cause significant pain and loss of motion in the neck. Muscle spasms often present as a very stiff or tense neck; these medications loosen the cramping and severe pain.
  • Antidepressants may seem like a strange prescription for chronic neck pain, but studies have found that chronic neck pain actually creates chemical changes in the brain that are very similar to depression. Antidepressants may help a patient who is suffering from neck pain by decreasing the depression-like symptoms associated with chronic pain.

Physical therapy is a crucial non-operative treatment option for chronic neck pain and there are several modalities that are used.

By no means is this a comprehensive guide for neck pain treatment options, but it does provide a brief overview of non-operative options that may be effective in managing and reducing chronic neck pain. If you are experiencing neck pain and would like an evaluation, please contact us today! 

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