Not all patients with neck or back pain require surgery; in fact, more than 95% find symptom relief through non-surgical therapies such as exercise, medication, physical therapy and chiropractic care.
For most people who have their first experience with neck pain, the main question that they often ask themselves is, "Will I be able to get better without surgery?" Fortunately, the numbers are on your side. Over 95% of people who have neck or back pain do not need surgery, and they will get better with non-operative treatment.
In many instances, non-surgical treatment and the natural healing process can provide good to excellent results in many patients. Some examples of non-operative treatment include medication, physical therapy, chiropractic and exercise.
NSAIDs work by reducing inflammation and providing pain relief. Inflamed ligaments and joints can cause pain directly or by irritating nerves as they leave the spine. NSAIDs must be taken on a regular basis at therapeutic dosing to have a true anti-inflammatory effect. Common, over-the-counter, NSAIDs include Ibuprofen and Naprosyn. The most common side effect of NSAIDs is irritation of the stomach. A newer alternative to standard NSAIDs are termed Cox2 inhibitors, which can be obtained with a prescription. They are less likely to cause irritation of the stomach, and have the benefit of once per day dosing. Please consult with your physician if you are taking long-term therapeutic dosing of NSAIDS. Learn more about medications.
During physical therapy, different treatments such as applications of heat and cold, ultrasound and massage are often used to help alleviate pain and stiffness. Therapeutic exercise often is prescribed to build strength and increase range of motion. Patients also may learn correct posture and relaxation techniques. Gentle cervical traction also may be prescribed. Learn more about physical therapy.
Chiropractic care seeks to prevent and treat back pain and other health problems through the correction of misalignments, or subluxations, in the spine. Manual spinal adjustment is the key component of chiropractic care; other chiropractic therapies include muscle stimulation, TENS (transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation), ultrasound and/or ice and heat therapy. Chiropractic care also may incorporate therapeutic exercise, stretching and massage therapy. Learn more about chiropractic.
Regular exercise is an essential part of maintaining a healthy neck. In the treatment of neck pain, exercise plays an important role in recovery. Each day we make demands on our bodies that can place stress on our backs. The more fit you are and the stronger your back is, the more easily your body can deal with the stress and strain of everyday activity. Learn exercises to prevent neck pain.
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