Neck pain is a very common problem that most people experience at some point in their life. As well as severe pain, it can also lead to reduced movement. People can experience pain in the neck or radiating to the back of the head, shoulder blade or shoulder. Most neck pain is not sinister and gets better with time. It is rare for neck pain to require spinal surgery. There are, however a number of things you can do to help manage a flare up of symptoms in your neck. Your GP can prescribe anti-inflammatories, if your medical history allows. If these alone do not work, or are unsuitable there are other pain killers that they may recommend. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) does not recommend use of opioid medication for neck pain. If the nerves in your neck are affected, then this can cause severe Arm Pain. There are different options to treat arm symptoms.
Evidence shows that early manual therapy, such as Physiotherapy, combined with exercise can help reduce pain and shorten the episode of neck pain, as well as giving you management strategies for the longer term. At New Hall Hospital we offer a fast access, comprehensive Physiotherapy service.
If neck pain symptoms persist, despite time, medication and Physiotherapy then, following assessment by one of the spinal team, a diagnostic injection called a Cervical Medial Branch Block can sometimes help to confirm which structures are causing symptoms. Sometimes, a further procedure, called Cervical Rhizolysis can then give relief of symptoms for long enough for you to engage in an exercise programme to give longer term management of symptoms.
Unfortunately, there is not always a ‘cure’ for long term neck pain. Pain management teams can help people with long term pain live well, despite their symptoms. A combination of physical exercise, pacing activities and ergonomic advice, along with emotional support and understanding why pain symptoms persist can often help. Below there is a brief video called “Tame The Beast” which explains clearly why some people develop persistent pain. There are also links to pain management services in Dorset, Wiltshire and both Southern Health and Solent services in Hampshire.