Neck Pain is pain posteriorly anywhere between the skull base and thoracic spine. It is the largest cause of musculoskeletal disability after low back pain. Approximately two-thirds of the population will suffer from neck pain at some time in their life. Fortunately for most people the acute pain resolves within days or weeks although in some it may reoccur or become chronic.
Neck pain usually has a multifactorial etiology -poor posture, neck strain/injuries, anxiety and depression, stress can play a role in magnifying the perceived pain. Pain from the upper part of the neck can radiate to the head leading to frequent headaches and that from the lower part of the neck can radiate to the shoulder, arm, chest wall and the scapula. It is not uncommon for patients to have reduced neck movement along with localized areas of muscle tenderness commonly known as trigger points.
Neck pain may be a result of:
Whiplash (flexion-extension) injuries or trauma
Be a part of a more widespread systemic problem such as ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia etc.
Be a result of referred pain from neighboring areas such as shoulder joint
Like with many other chronic pain conditions, multi-disciplinary management based on the biopsychosocial model of pain is the preferred approach. Commonly used modalities for pain management include:
Medications optimisation– this involves using a combination of different types of drugs to maximise the pain relief. The combination is selected based on the type of pain, its severity and other medical problems. Different types of medicines may be used including anti-inflammatory medications, neuropathic agents, weak or strong opioids and other drugs like muscle relaxants, topical agents- creams, gels, patches etc.
Injections under x ray, ultrasound guidance such as
Physiotherapy tailored to your goals and functional status. A combination or proprioceptive, mobilisation and strengthening exercise are used based on your requirements. It forms an essential pillar of treatment and helps to prolong the benefits of other interventions.
Psychology input including cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques; self-help strategies and addressing any coexisting anxiety, depression.
Complimentary therapies such as acupuncture, TENS, meditation, Ayurveda and wellness