Neck and shoulder pain are very common problems seen in people due to a wide variety of reasons, ranging from mild to severe. These conditions can be managed and treated with various different measures.

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What Is The Best Treatment For Neck And Shoulder Pain?

The treatment for neck and shoulder pain is carried out as a single method or a combination of many methods. The treatment options may include-

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Medicines-

  • Pain relievers and anti- inflammatory medications can be used to reduce the inflammation and relieve the pain.
  • These may include ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, acetaminophen, etc.
  • However, these should not be taken on a long-term basis as they can cause serious side effects
  • Muscle relaxants may be used to relax the sprained muscles
  • Tricyclic antidepressants may be used in some instances to provide relief from pain
  • NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids are also prescribed sometimes for pain(1,2)

Physical Therapy-

  • Physical therapy can help you with neck stretching and strengthening exercises
  • It can help in neck alignment and teach you how to maintain a correct posture
  • Along with this, heat and ice therapy, electrical stimulation, etc. can be used to alleviate the pain and also prevent the neck pain from recurring
  • Heat therapy can be given with heating pads or a warm shower and ice therapy can be done by ice cubes wrapped in a thin towel and kept on the affected area or using ice pads(1,2)

Immobilization-

For neck pain, immobilization with a soft neck caller and for shoulder pain, with a sling or shoulder immobilizer may help in giving the neck or shoulder the much-needed rest The rest can help the neck or shoulder in recovering and healing fast(1,2)

After-Care

If the neck pain or shoulder pain is an after effect of surgery, speak to your doctor and follow the post-surgical routine and instructions very carefully(2)

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Other Procedures-

Injectable Steroids-

Corticosteroids may be injected at the roots of the nerves in the cervical spine or in the muscles of your neck or shoulder, so as to relieve severe pain(1)

Surgery-

  • It is a very rare mode of treatment as surgery is usually not needed
  • However, in the instance that it is needed, it is done to alleviate compression on the nerve roots or the spinal cord(1)

Alternative Methods For Treating Neck And Shoulder Pain-

If you are interested in alternative methods for treating neck or shoulder pain, there are some available. However, they carry their own risks and benefits. It is best to speak with your doctor first before you start on any of these treatments. These may include-

Acupuncture-

  • Done by an acupuncture specialist, with the help of sterile needles
  • These needles are pricked at certain points in your body, which then alleviate the pain
  • This is, however, to be done under expert guidance and only with sterile needles, as there is a risk of unwanted exposure to many infections(1)

Chiropractic-

  • This is essentially performed by manipulating the spinal cord and applying a controlled yet somewhat abrupt force on a joint
  • This method may help in providing short-term relief from pain and is usually minimally risky(1)

Massage-

  • A trained massage therapist can help in gently massaging your strained muscles, thus reducing the stiffness and alleviating neck or shoulder pain(1)
  • Though there is not much scientific evidence backing these alternative methods of treating neck and shoulder pain, there have been mixed results regarding the same.
  • Hence, these methods should be carried out only after talking to your doctor about the benefits and risks and doing these under expert guidance only.(1)

Conclusion

The best treatment for neck and shoulder pain can be a single method or a combination of multiple methods. Your doctor would be the best person to guide you on this.

References:  

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: June 26, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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