Neck pain has several causes, so the first step in treating your pain is to get a diagnosis. Pain can be caused by muscle strain, nerve compression, joint disease, an injury, or a medical condition such as meningitis. Here are some neck pain treatments that your doctor might recommend.
Treat The Underlying Cause
When your pain is caused by a medical problem such as arthritis or meningitis, your doctor will need to treat your medical condition so your pain improves. You might need to see a specialist for arthritis if you have arthritis in your neck.
Even when your pain is caused by a medical problem, your doctor might recommend specific neck pain treatments that focus on reducing your discomfort. This might include medications or physical therapy.
Your doctor might try medications depending on the cause of your neck pain. Muscle relaxants might help if you're having painful spasms in your neck. Your doctor might also try anti-inflammatory drugs and giving you corticosteroid injections in your neck.
Prescription pain medications might also be needed if your pain is so severe that over-the-counter pain products don't work. Your doctor may even consider a nerve block to deaden pain in your neck.
Manipulate Your Neck
You might try chiropractic treatments that help move your neck joint back to its proper alignment. Your doctor may recommend wearing a foam collar for short periods or using a neck traction device that positions your neck to relieve pain from a compressed nerve.
Prescribe Physical Therapy
Physical therapy might help neck pain by strengthening weak muscles and relaxing tight muscles. A muscle imbalance caused by poor posture is a common cause of neck pain. Learning stretches and neck exercises might help your neck heal faster and also prevent future problems with pain.
A therapist might also give you treatments that help with pain, such as alternating hot and cold temperatures to your neck. Your doctor might recommend doing hot and cold treatments at home too with ice packs or warm showers. The heat helps loosen up tight muscles and improve blood flow while cold temperatures decrease inflammation.
A few types of neck pain might require surgery if other neck pain treatments don't work. The doctor might need to fuse joints in your neck to provide stabilization. Surgery might also be needed to decompress a nerve or your spinal cord.
In addition to treatments you may receive in a pain clinic or your doctor's office, you may be given ways to treat your pain at home. This could include improving your posture, working ergonomically, changing your sleeping position, and doing daily stretches.