Neck pain relief is the alleviation of painful symptoms associated with such conditions as muscle strain, disk disorders and arthritis in the neck. Generally, treatments depend on the cause of the pain, but may include anti-inflammatory medications, prescription pain relievers or corticosteroid medication. Neck pain may be the result of injuries or wear and tear. A physical examination and evaluation is generally recommended prior to treatment to ensure the patient is receiving the appropriate care for his condition.
Typically, people experiencing neck pain can get some relief by taking anti-inflammatory medication. In addition to reducing inflammation commonly associated with arthritis and neck injuries, these medications block the production of a chemical called prostaglandin. This chemical plays an important role in producing pain. When prostaglandin production is decreased, the patient frequently experiences substantial neck pain relief.
Sometimes, anti-inflammatory medications are not effective in treating severe neck pain. In these situations, a physician may recommend stronger prescription pain relievers. Frequently, opioid analgesics are used temporarily to alleviate acute, severe neck pain. In addition, the physician may prescribe muscle relaxants, which may afford the patient effective neck pain relief. Although these medications work well for achieving neck pain relief, they may produce side effects, such as drowsiness and confusion.
Occasionally, in severe cases, the physician may elect to inject medications directly into the patient's neck to promote neck pain relief. Commonly, corticosteroid medication is injected close to the nerves or roots of the nerves near the joints or neck muscles. Often, corticosteroid injections are effective in reducing inflammation and relieving pressure and pain. In addition to injecting corticosteroid medications, the physician may also inject a numbing medication into the neck to relieve severe discomfort.
Many times, immobilizing the neck will bring substantial neck pain relief. A cervical neck collar may be worn in cases of neck injury to stabilize the neck and keep movement related pain to a minimum. Traction, which uses a combination of pulleys and weights to stretch and immobilize the neck is sometimes prescribed and may provide rapid relief of neck pain. Traction therapy is especially effective in types of neck pain associated with nerve root abnormalities.
Rarely, when other methods of neck pain relief are ineffective, surgery may be recommended. Although not recommended for most types of neck pain, surgical intervention may be effective in treating pain and immobility in cases that involve compression of the spinal cord. Other treatment methods should be exhausted before the decision to proceed with surgery is made.