Category: Back Pain, Neck Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: October 29, 2015
Cervical pain can be a literal pain in the neck. We specialize in cervical fusion procedures that can offer disc pain relief, but oftentimes surgery isn’t the first option. Our goal is to help correct your pain, whether that’s through an operation or non-invasive techniques. Today, we’re going to share some tips for managing your cervical neck pain at home before you decide if surgery is the correct route for you.
Treat Cervical Pain On Your Own
Cervical disc pain can be caused by an acute injury like whiplash or from disc degeneration, but the end result is always pain. Here are some tips to follow to see if that pain subsides without surgery.
- Rest – You probably live a hectic life, but you’re going to want to stay away from intense activities for a bit while you let your spine heal. That said, you also want to be cognizant of your head position when you’re resting. You might be straining your neck without even realizing it. If you’re constantly looking down at your phone or hunched over a computer, you’re going to put a lot of stress on your neck. Keep your head over your shoulders to avoid putting more strain on your neck.
- Strengthening Stretches – Rest is great for a day or two, but staying idle for longer periods can actually be harmful to your cervical discs. If you’re not moving the muscles in your neck, it can actually decondition those muscles to support your head, further exacerbating pain. Stretch your neck to help strengthen the affected areas. Slowly rotate your head in a circle, lightly hold it to each side for 20 seconds and rock your head forward, backward and side-to-side to build strength in the painful areas.
- Ice and Heat – Ice helps limit bloodflow in areas, and this can be very helpful if inflammation is contributing to your pain. Ice also helps reduce swelling in the event that your cervical pain is caused by an injury like whiplash. Ice is generally recommended for the first 48 hours, and then heat is preferred. Heat can help spur recovery of damaged areas, loosen muscles and reduce stiffness. Heat the area prior to performing strengthening exercises to help facilitate pain-free movement.
- Exercise – Once you’re comfortable with your pain level, the final step is to return to regular exercise. Exercise has been shown to significantly reduce neck pain and disability compared to patients with neck pain who didn’t exercise. Add at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise to your routine to allow healthy bloodflow to take place. Opt for neck conscious activities, like running or swimming. Be careful about activities that can put extra stress on your neck and spine, like cycling or contact sports.
If non-invasive treatments for cervical pain prove ineffective, a more hands-on approach may be necessary. A spine specialist can help discover the underlying cause and chart a more specific rehab course, whether that means pain medications, injection therapy or cervical disc fusion. If you have more questions about your neck pain, don’t hesitate to reach out.