Acute pain is pain from an injury or other damage that lasts less than 30 days, usually the time that is within the period of healing. Chronic pain is pain that lasts more than 3 months and extends beyond the expected time of healing. Some of the most debilitating pain people deal with is back and neck (spine) pain. There are several causes of neck pain, including:
- Muscle strains. Overuse, such as too many hours hunched over a steering wheel or sitting in front of the computer, often triggers muscle strains. Even such minor things as reading in bed or gritting your teeth can strain neck muscles.
- Arthritic joints. Just like all the other joints in your body, your neck joints tend to undergo wear and tear with age, which can cause osteoarthritis in your neck leading to pain and in some cases, headaches.
- Nerve compression. Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your neck can encroach on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.
- Injuries. Auto collisions often result in whiplash injuries, which occur when the head is jerked backward and then forward, stretching the soft tissues of the neck beyond their limits.
- Diseases. Neck pain can sometimes be caused by diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer. (1)
There are several different ways to treat chronic neck pain. Some relief may be obtained through regular, specialized exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles in the neck. Traction or immobilization with a “neck collar” is helpful, but immobilization is for short term use only. Steroid injections, radiofrequency ablations, and surgery are also used in the treatment of neck pain.
Effectively Treating Neck Pain
One of the most effective, with relatively new treatments for chronic neck pain, is “interventional” pain management. Interventional pain management is a subspecialty of the medical specialty, pain management, devoted to the use of minimally-invasive techniques such as facet joint injections or ablations, cervical epidural injections, and BOTOX for headaches. A pain specialist will be able to discuss these options with you and help alleviate your pain.
Here in Mokena, the experts at treating chronic neck and spine pain are the Mokena pain specialists at The Pain & Spine Institute. We have a state-of-the-art facility in Mokena, and we also have other facilities in the greater Chicago area. For help with your chronic neck pain, schedule an appointment now with The Pain & Spine Institute at (888) 362-7472.