Decisions regarding neck pain treatment must be made carefully. In most instances, there is ample time to learn about and understand your condition so that you can make an informed decision about your care.
There are many instances where non-surgical care for cervical disorders is preferable to neck surgery. In many instances, non-surgical treatment can provide good results. Some examples of non-operative treatments include: immobilization (can be achieved using a collar), physiotherapy, acupuncture, and/or medications.
Massage is often used to relieve muscle tension, spasms, inflammation, aches, stiffness, and neck pain. Other benefits include general flexibility, range of motion, and increased tissue elasticity (e.g., scar tissue). Massage is a useful adjunct in the overall treatment of neck pain and muscle spasm, and is often combined with physiotherapy.
During physiotherapy, different treatments such as applications of heat and cold, ultrasound, and massage are often incorporated to help alleviate pain and stiffness. Also, therapeutic exercise is often prescribed to build strength and increase range of motion, at the same time teaching the patients correct posture and relaxation techniques.
Acupuncture works by the release of endorphins in the body, thereby changing the perception of pain. It is a useful adjunct to other conservative treatment.
Injections can help relieve neck and/or shoulder pain by reducing inflammation (swelling and irritation). An injection also can help the spine specialist diagnose the source of your pain by numbing certain areas of your neck. Spinal injections can be done near a nerve (selective nerve root block) and/or joint(s) of the neck (facet joint block). Injection can also be administered into the affected discs of the cervical spine, radiofrequency energy (nucleoplasty) can be applied to the discs, allowing some form of decompression so that the disc protrusion will be reduced.
A spinal injection will not stop all neck and/or arm pain. But it can reduce pain and break the pain cycle. Some people may feel more relief from an injection than others. And some people may need more than one injection to get relief.
A selective nerve block can help locate the source of pain, as it numbs specific nerves. But if you feel relief, it may indicate the source of the pain. If you feel no relief, it may mean that the pain’s source is at another area in your spine. Or it may mean that something other than inflammation is causing the pain. Injection results also may be used to help plan future neck surgery, if required.
For a comprehensive consultation of your neck problems to determine if you need surgery, contact us to make an appointment with our internationally experienced spine surgeon , Dr Hee Hwan Tak at Singapore Pinnacle Orthopaedic Group today. Visit Dr Hee Hwan Tak’s Google+ page here.