At the Barr Center, our approach to neck pain relief begins and ends with our patients.
Neck pain is one of the most common major musculoskeletal disorders for adults. Our necks are designed to hold our heads up straight and move our heads to see the world around us. The neck muscles and ligaments must be strong enough to support the weight of the head and the joints supple enough to allow movement in all directions. It’s estimated that neck pain affects up to 20 percent of the population and studies show that neck pain impacts all aspects of our lives, affecting a person’s physical, social, and mental well being.
Neck pain can be caused by a number of factors, including ergonomic (strenuous physical activity, use of force and vibration, inadequate posture, repetitive movement), individual (age, body mass index, genome, musculoskeletal pain history), behavioral (smoking and level of physical activity), and psychosocial (job satisfaction, stress level, anxiety, and depression) factors.
Neck Pain Relief and Diagnosis
Neck pain often develops from muscle imbalances, trigger points, muscle tension and poor posture. Poor ergonomics at your desk or looking down for prolonged periods at your cell phone or tablet can cause muscle strain and neck pain, as well. Chronic stress often manifests itself as neck pain and poor breathing patterns can cause excessive activation of the neck muscles, which are by design only accessory breathing muscles. Pain may arise from the neck itself or from any of the many surrounding muscles, ligaments or tendons. Neck pain can also be caused by the natural process of aging. This process can lead to degeneration of the discs and joints of the neck.
To diagnose the cause of your neck pain, it is important for your clinician to understand the history of your symptoms. A Barr Center physician will review with you:
- The location, intensity, duration, and radiation of the pain
Any past injury to the neck
- Positions or motions that aggravate and/or relieve the pain
- Range of motion and posture
- Palpation to assess any tenderness
- Assessment of the nervous system
Further testing of undiagnosed neck pain can include:
Most neck pain will improve within a few weeks without medical intervention. Pain relievers, moist heat and/or ice may be all that you need to improve your pain. Cervical collars are not typically recommended, as they may weaken muscles. Excessive use of pain relievers may also not be in your best interest, as inflammation is part of the healing process.
If home treatments are not working for you, your doctor may suggest stronger medications or other therapy. It should be noted that the focus of treatment at The Barr Center is on restoring function and management without reliance on medications. Your treatment for neck pain will be determined based on your symptoms and treatment history and may include any of the following:
- Acute pain
- Muscle relaxers
- Chronic Pain
- Antidepressant medications. Low doses of antidepressant medications have been found to have a positive effect on pain. The use of these medications is for pain medication, not depression.
- Narcotics (opioids). These medications, such as codeine or hydrocodone, may be used for a short period of time with close supervision by your doctor.
- Topical Creams
- Pain patches
- Physical Therapy
- Modalities to reduce pain, such as moist heat, dry needling, myofascial release, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, deep tissue massage, and traction
- Manual techniques to release trigger points and restore muscle balance
- Strengthening, stabilization and flexibility exercises to restore function and strength
- Education to prevent further injury or recurrence of pain
- Procedures to Reduce Pain
- Electrical stimulation
- TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)
- Home muscle stimulation units
- Epidural steroid injections
- Prolotherapy therapy Injections
- Autologous platelet-rich plasma injections
- Facet injections
- Sympathetic blocks
- Nerve blocks
- Radiofrequency denervation
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Neurotoxin injections
- Laminectomy or foraminotomy
These procedures open up the spinal canal or intervertebral space and reduce pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. They can decrease and/or relieve extremity pain caused by bone spurs or disk fragments or calcified ligaments.
This surgery involves completely removing one or more intervertebral discs and joining two or more vertebrae (fusion surgery)
This is a surgical procedure in which a segment of the intervertebral disc that is causing pressure on a spinal nerve is removed.
Conditions We Treat:
- Myofascial Pain
- Cervical dystonia/Spasmodic Torticollis
- Herniated Discs in the Neck
- Arthritis of the Neck
- Whiplash Injuries
- Instability Due to Trauma or Hypermobility Syndromes
- Occipital Headaches/ Occipital Neuritis
- Tension Headaches
Treatments we perform:
Can the Barr Center Help You with Neck Pain Relief?
Call us at 757-578-2260 or email us at [email protected] to get started on relieving your neck pain. To learn more about the anatomy of the neck and the causes of neck pain, visit our blog articles for more information.
Other pain management conditions we treat are: Shoulder Pain, Back Pain, Hip Pain and Knee Pain. We often use Regenerative Medicine and Physical Therapy in our treatments.