Anyone who suffers from neck pain knows just how frustrating and debilitating it can be. Whether the discomfort is mild, severe, or anything in between, it can prevent even a healthy, active person from performing the simplest of daily tasks.
While many patients may suffer for months or even years with persistent pain in the neck, upper back, or shoulders, there is hope. New developments in the medical field are providing real relief and helping individuals get their normal lives back.
What are these latest advancements in chronic neck pain treatments? Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Chronic Neck Pain?
Chronic neck pain is typically defined as discomfort or stiffness in the neck that lasts for three months or longer. Causes may include degenerative disk disease, neck strain, osteoarthritis, injuries like whiplash, or conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Common symptoms include sharp or dull aching in the neck, difficulty moving the head, and sometimes complications like headaches or arm pain.
Living with chronic neck pain can significantly affect day-to-day activities. It can limit mobility, reduce productivity, and lead to mental health issues like depression or anxiety.
Traditional Treatments for Chronic Neck Pain
Traditional treatments for chronic neck pain typically involve medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, or opioids for severe pain. Physical therapy exercises can help increase flexibility and strength, while surgery may be an option for conditions like herniated disks or spinal stenosis.
However, these treatments have limitations. Medications can cause side effects, physical therapy requires commitment and extended periods of time, and surgery involves significant risks and recovery time.
The Latest Advancements in Chronic Neck Pain Treatments
Recent research and technological advancements are revolutionizing the treatment of chronic neck pain. Innovative procedures like radiofrequency ablation (RFA), where an electric current is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue to decrease pain signals from that area, are providing new hope for patients.
Non-invasive treatments such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), where a device delivers small electrical pulses to the body through electrodes placed on the skin, can help relieve chronic neck or back pain. These methods have the advantage of being safe and relatively risk-free but may not be effective for all patients.
Minimally Invasive Treatments
Minimally invasive treatments like RFA or injections offer another alternative. These procedures involve small incisions or needle insertions and often use imaging guidance for precision. They can provide significant relief with fewer side effects than traditional treatments but do carry some risks such as infection or nerve damage.
Holistic and Alternative Treatments
Holistic and alternative treatments such as dry needling, chiropractic adjustments, yoga, massage therapy, and mindfulness-based stress reduction can also help manage chronic neck pain. These therapies claim to treat the whole person — body, mind, and spirit — and can complement conventional treatments.
The Future of Chronic Neck Pain Treatments
Ongoing research into chronic neck pain treatments is exploring promising avenues like stem cell therapy and personalized medicine based on genetic profiling. These potential future treatments could offer more targeted, effective relief with fewer side effects. Keep in mind that these types of therapies are still in development and may not be available for most patients.
Maintain open communication with your healthcare provider when considering new treatments. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms in detail, ask about the benefits and risks of different options, and express any concerns you may have.
Chronic Neck Pain Treatments at HPM
At HPM, we’re committed to offering leading chronic neck pain treatments at our rural health clinics across a growing number of states across America. Our pain specialists are trained to identify the precise cause of each patient’s pain and provide an assortment of advanced treatments that are highly effective at reducing discomfort.
At HPM, we offer a variety of chronic neck pain treatments that have proven to be highly effective for many patients, including RFA, nerve blocks, corticosteroid injections, and trigger point injections.
Find an HPM location near you today and take the first step towards finding relief from chronic neck pain.