How Are Back And Neck Pain Managed
Acute back pain usually gets better without special treatment. Using acetaminophen or ibuprofen will decrease pain and help you rest. Surgery and special exercises are generally not used with acute pain.
For severe, disabling, or chronic back and neck pain, rehabilitation programs can be designed to meet your needs. The type of program will depend on the type and severity of your pain, injury, or disease. Active involvement of the patient and family is vital to the success of rehabilitation programs.
The goal of back and neck rehabilitation is to help you manage disabling pain, return to your highest level of functioning and independence possible, while improving your overall quality of life. The focus of rehabilitation is on relieving pain and improving mobility .
To help reach these goals, back and neck rehabilitation programs may include the following:
Exercise programs to improve range of motion, increase muscle strength, improve flexibility and mobility, and increase endurance
Help with obtaining assistive devices that promote independence
Patient and family education and counseling
Pain management techniques
Gait and movement retraining
Ergonomic assessments and work-related injury prevention programs
When Should I Call My Health Care Provider
See your health care provider if you have:
Loss of bladder or bowel control, with weakness in both legs. These symptoms require immediate attention
Severe back or neck pain that does not decrease with medication and rest
Pain after an injury or a fall
Weakness, numbness, or tingling in your legs or arms
Back and neck problems range from minor aches to severe, disabling pain
Often, the reasons for your pain cannot be identified.
See a health care provider if you have numbness or tingling, severe pain that does not improve with medication and rest, difficulty urinating, weakness, pain, or numbness in your legs, fever, unintentional weight loss, or pain after a fall.
Often, back and neck pain will improve over time. Consult with your health care provider if your pain is not decreasing.
Use prevention strategies to keep yourself healthy and injury-free.
For severe, disabling, or chronic back pain, consider an individualized rehabilitation program.
Avoiding Neck Exercises If You Have A Pinched Nerve
Avoiding neck exercises can be a good idea if you have a pinched nerve. However, if you have a severe injury or a long history of pain, you should consult your doctor first.
A pinched nerve is one of the most prevalent reasons for neck discomfort. This condition can be excruciating and lead to various symptoms, including headaches, numbness, and shooting pain. Pinched nerves are most commonly found in the wrist or lower back, but they can occur anywhere in the body.
It is essential to treat the problem before it becomes worse. It can be done with several different treatments. Some people opt for physiotherapy, while others may take prescription pain relievers.
Neck exercises are an effective way to improve muscle strength and range of motion. They can also reduce symptoms of a pinched nerve.
Many factors, such as a fall or an injury to muscles or ligaments, can cause a pinched nerve in the neck. A stiff neck can lead to further problems, such as fractures, arthritis, and spinal cord injuries.
In addition to a warm bath and some light exercise, ice is an effective treatment for reducing inflammation and swelling. You can also use a heating pad or a sleeved towel to numb the area.
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Limit How Long You Look At A Smartphone
Constantly looking down at your phone can pull on your neck muscles, putting a constant strain on them, and sometimes leading to pain. This phenomenon has even earned its own term: tech neck, or text neck.
A small 2019 study of 500 university students in Jordan found that the length of mobile phone use was positively correlated with increased pain severity and duration.
Researchers found that more than 24 percent of students assigned their neck pain a score greater than 4 on the 11-point Numeric Rating Scale for pain, indicating moderate pain or worse.
Overall, the authors stressed the importance of being mindful of how using mobile devices can contribute to neck pain and that changing positions and reducing the usage duration may be advised.
If you have to use your smartphone often, try some of these tips to reduce your neck strain:
- Hold your phone at eye level.
- Dont hold your phone between your shoulder and your ear.
- Use earbuds or headphones.
Osteoarthritis Of The Spine
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of spinal arthritis. It usually affects the lower back and develops through wear and tear. As the cartilage between the joints slowly breaks down, it leads to inflammation and pain. Because the pain is from mechanical damage, it is typically more noticeable when you bend or twist your back. Past back injuries may also contribute to the development of degenerative arthritis of the spine.
Osteoarthritis of the spine usually affects the facet joints between the vertebrae. It is also known as facet joint arthritis, facet joint syndrome and facet disease. In some cases, degeneration of the spinal discs may contribute to facet joint arthritis. As discs between the vertebrae become thinner, more pressure is transferred to the facet joints. This leads to more friction and more damage to the cartilage.
When these degenerative changes occur in the neck, this condition is called cervical spondylosis. Arthritis in the neck doesnt always cause pain, and many people have no noticeable symptoms.
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How Back Pain And Neck Pain Are Diagnosed
If youre experiencing neck or back pain, a doctor will perform a physical exam and may even order X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging . An MRI provides pictures of blood vessels, ligaments, tendons and soft tissues. It can provide the root cause of your back pain or neck pain. Its quite common for a doctor to recommend physical therapy to treat neck and back pain
Back and neck pain can lead to a loss of productivity. Its a common cause for disability. It can also lead to nerve damage, depression and even weight gain. If youre suffering from back pain or neck pain, its time to take action. Get pain relief with the help of a physical therapist. A physical therapist will develop a personalized treatment plan just for you.
Why suffer when physical therapy can give you pain relief? Call Kinetix Physical Therapy today to see how physical therapy can help you live a pain-free life.
Why Does My Back Still Hurt After My Compression Fracture Has Healed
Your broken bone will heal within three months. Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists after the first three months. When your spine heals from a spinal fracture, the shape of your spine becomes affected, causing persistent pain. Depending on the type of pain, you may experience different sensations.
Compression Fractures: Symptoms, Prevention, And Treatment
A sudden onset of severe pain in the back is one of the most common symptoms of compression fracture. Other symptoms include numbness, tingling, and weakness, in addition to the sensation loss. If the fracture is not treated, it can result in paralysis or spinal cord compression. Regular exercise, avoiding excessive lifting and bending, and wearing a back support are all ways to prevent compression fractures of the spine. You should consult a physician as soon as you feel the need to seek medical attention if you have a compression fracture.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Spinal Arthritis
Symptoms of spinal arthritis may differ from person to person. In general, they may include:
Back and neck pain, especially in the lower back
Stiffness and loss of flexibility in the spine, such as being unable to straighten your back or turn your neck
Swelling and tenderness over the affected vertebrae
Feeling of grinding when moving the spine
Pain, swelling and stiffness in other areas of the body
Whole-body weakness and fatigue
Pain and numbness in your arms or legs if the nerves are affected
Although back pain is a common symptom, not all people have it, even those with advanced spinal arthritis. On the other hand, some may experience pain even before arthritis can be seen on an X-ray.
In certain types of spondyloarthritis, eye inflammation may occur, causing pain, watery eyes and blurred vision.
What Is The Upper Back
If you want to understand your upper back pain, start with an anatomy lesson.
Pain in the upper and/or mid back is less common than lower back or neck pain. One 2015 Mayo Clinic review of studies suggests that about a third of people get lower back or neck pain , compared to less than one-fifth reporting upper back pain.
The upper back is the region below the cervical spine and above the low back . The upper back is called the thoracic spine, and it is the most stable part of the spine. The range of motion in the upper back is limited because of the spines attachments to the ribs .
Think of your spine as a tree trunk. It keeps you standing upright. It connects parts of your skeleton to each other. It carries the weight of your upper body.
Since thats a massive job, the spine itself shares some of the physical load with nearby muscles, some of which include:
Trapezius: Near your shoulder blade, helps you stand straight and throw
Latissimus dorsi: Lower on your back, helps with arm movement and breathing
Rhomboids: Adjacent to trapezius, supports your shoulders and helps you pull
When you hurt your upper or mid back doing yard work or playing tennis, chances are high youve injured one of these muscles. The most common reason we see people with upper back pain is a simple musculoskeletal strain, says Reginald Knight, MD, Director of Bassett Spine Care Institute in Cooperstown, NY.
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How To Treat Neck Pain
Treating neck pain will depend on its cause. However, general treatment options include:
- Injection such as anesthetics or cortisone
- Physical therapy including massage, manipulation, or ultrasound
- Topical anesthetic creams and pain relief patches
- Over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen
You can also apply some self-care measures, some of which include:
- Neck pain relief exercises and stretches
- Jacuzzi treatment
- Neck pillows and hot pads
- Braces and corsets
Alternatively, treatments such as nerve block and acupuncture can also be administered.
Typical Remedies For Neck And Back Pain
Did one of the above causes sound familiar to you? Talk to your doctor about the type of pain youre experiencing and where its located in your back or neck. They will ask you questions about your health history, any accidents or surgeries youve had, and what kind of medications you take. They may also take X-rays or CT scans. Once they have diagnosed your pain, they will give you a few options for treatment depending on the severity of your condition. They may suggest any of the following approaches, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.
- Over-the-counter relief. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs can provide short-term relief for back and neck pain. However, using NSAIDs frequently to relieve pain can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, including ulcers.
- Narcotic pain medication. Doctors can prescribe controlled substances to treat neck and back pain, especially if the pain interferes with your everyday life. Narcotics can become habitual if used too frequently, and your body may become dependent on them for pain relief.
- Steroid injections. Steroid injections at the site of your pain provide a higher level of anti-inflammatory relief, but they are not for everyone. Steroids can cause short-term blood sugar dysregulation, and in the long term, they can cause your cartilage to break down, making your pain worse.
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How Is A Compression Fracture Of The Neck Treated
It is common for a minor fracture to be treated with a cervical collar or brace for six to eight weeks, depending on the severity of the fracture. The severity of the fracture, as well as its complexity, can result in traction or surgical repair, as well as spinal fusion.
cervical vertebrae are the small bones in the neck that make up the neck. These bones, which are located between the skull and the tops of the shoulders, are the foundation of the skull. A person who has broken a neck may be able to regain some function with noninvasive care, such as wearing a cervical collar or neck brace. Paralysis from the neck down is a possibility if a person suffers an injury to their spinal cord. A cervical or neck brace is used to prevent the head and neck from moving more than when using a brace. A halo vest is a type of traction device that consists of a hard vest and a halo-shaped ring around the head. Dislocated bones in the neck or an unstable neck can be repaired by surgery.
If you have a broken neck, you may require hospitalization for a few days or weeks. For people who have only minor breaks in the spinal cord and are otherwise stable, a brace may be sufficient. In the aftermath of a broken neck, make certain that no accidents or injuries occur.
Fixing Upper Back And Neck Pain
Upper back and neck pain can stop you in your tracks, making it difficult to go about your typical day. The reasons behind this discomfort vary, but they all come down to how we hold ourselves while standing, moving, and most important of all sitting.
Neck and upper back pain can limit your movements and capabilities. If you dont do anything about your pains, they can get worse, spread, and limit you further. This is usually because the muscles around your immediate area of pain have tensed up to protect that one spot. That expansion limits movement and can turn one clenched muscle under your shoulder blade into a painful shoulder and a tension headache.
Causes of upper back and neck pain include:
- improperly lifting something heavy
Our love of screens is also a likely culprit in upper back and neck pain. Sitting all day working on a computer screen, craning your neck to read the news on your phone on the way home, and slumping on the couch to watch several hours of television are great ways to throw your body out of alignment.
Like many health conditions, the effects of neck and back pain can be more severe in people who smoke or are overweight. Excess weight can add more pressure on the muscles.
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Five Quick Fixes For Neck Pain
Neck pain can be experienced in many different ways. Whether its a stiff neck, a muscle spasm or a deep throbbing ache, neck pain interrupts your life and keeps you from doing the things you love.
Thankfully, a little bit of neck pain doesnt mean you have to bow out of an upcoming family gathering or a fun activity with friends. Here are five quick fixes that can help if your neck hurts.
Treatment Options For Spine Pain
Our therapists use a number of tactics for treating patients suffering from neck and back pain, including strengthening weak muscles, stretching tight muscles, instruction in proper posture and body mechanics, ice, heat and electrical stimulation. We also use traction pulling on the spine to open up the space between the vertebrae — to decrease compression on the discs and the nerves. This can be done manually or on a special machine. The spine is a delicate part of the body and requires precise hands-on work by the therapist. Our specialists are certified to provide this high-level manual care.
Several of our facilities offer heated pools for aquatic therapy, which is an important option for people with spinal pain. The water provides buoyancy and allows patients to stand and move in ways that they otherwise can’t. The pool is a great starting point for patients with extreme pain or with chronic disease.
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When To Seek Medical Attention
Neck and shoulder discomfort is common, but when should you seek professional help from a doctor or physical therapist? Generally speaking, if your neck or shoulder pain is causing interference with your daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or completing everyday tasks, its a good idea to consult a healthcare provider. In addition to interfering with physical activities, there are a few other signs that you may need medical attention.
If you experience any of the following symptoms with your neck or shoulders pain, see a medical professional right away:
- Pain that persists despite home remedies and other lifestyle modifications
- Abnormal tingling or numbness in any area of the body
- Weakness in the arms or hands
- Unexplained weight loss
- Difficulty breathing
- Significant swelling around the painful area
Other cases where medical attention should be sought include pain that is so severe it keeps you from sleeping more than an hour at a time intense burning sensations and persistent headaches. Generally, if after trying home remedies for over two weeks you still have not seen significant improvement in your condition its best to seek assistance from a physician.
Common Causes Of Chronic Back Pain
Chronic back painis usually age-related, but can also result from a prior injury. The mostcommon causes include:
- Arthritis of the spinethe gradual thinning of the cartilage inside the spine
- Spinal stenosisnarrowing of the spinal canal that may lead to nerve pain
- Disc problems, such as a herniated or bulging disc
- Myofascial pain syndromeunexplained muscle pain and tenderness
In some cases, its difficult to pinpoint the cause of chronic back pain.If your doctor has exhausted all diagnostic options, its time to seek asecond opinion from a back pain specialist, recommends Nava. Itsimportant not to make rushed decisions or undergo extensive medicalprocedures until the origin of the pain is found. Not only may they nothelp they could make the pain worse, warns Nava.
If the source of the pain is not known or cant be treated, your bestoption may be to work with your doctor on reducing the flare-ups and makingthe pain manageable with nonsurgical treatments.
Back Pain Causes and Treatments Webinar | Stephanie Van, M.D.
Chronic back pain is a persistent source of discomfort for many adults. In this webinar, our expert Stephanie Van, M.D., discusses common causes of back pain along with strategies for relief.
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