Anyone who has ever experienced neck pain understands how excruciatingly uncomfortable it can be. What some people may not know is that there are actually two main types of neck pain: chronic and acute. Both have the potential to disrupt a person’s life and make even the simplest movements a challenge. Acute pain oftentimes occurs unexpectedly, which could cause even more frustration among those affected. Fortunately, treatment for both acute and chronic pain is available.
As explained in a video on popular spinal health resource, Spine-health.com, “Chronic [neck pain] is pain that has lasted longer than three months,” while “acute neck pain is defined as any neck pain that has lasted less than three months.” The portal also warns that if “you have a sudden onset of pain, this is generally called an acute neck pain and most often, it’s caused by a muscle or tendon strain within the neck, which can cause quite disabling pain.”
Although one person’s acute neck pain may only require “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications” and/or ice to feel relief, it stipulates, there are other instances in which treatment is necessary or highly recommended. You’ll know whether to contact a medical professional if the pain gets worse and/or starts to spread to other parts of the body, such as the shoulders, arms and back.
Several treatments for those suffering with acute neck pain are:
Physical therapy is a treatment option to consider if you have acute neck pain. As discussed in one of our previous posts, physical therapy could help those with musculoskeletal disorders, including back and neck pain—conditions which approximately one in three U.S. adults deal with, according to 2016 statistics.
A July 2016 article published by PT in Motion, a professional issues magazine managed by nonprofit American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), highlights the key findings of a study that found early intervention of neck pain with physical therapy is effective, and saves patients money in the long run, too.
“Researchers found that getting to a PT [physical therapist] early not only achieved more improvement per $100 spent, but actually doubled a patient's odds of decreased disability compared with patients who were treated after a delay of more than 4 weeks,” the article states.
Physiatry is a health treatment that focuses on diagnosing and treating numerous orthopedic and pain conditions, without surgery. While neck pain is a common reason to consult a physiatrist, others include: lower back pain, arthritis, tendonitis, rotator cuff injuries, spinal stenosis, herniated disks, and more.
There are a variety of treatment methods physiatrists utilize to help their patients, depending on the specific type and severity of their condition. Some include, but are not limited to, joint injections, trigger point therapy, nerve blocks, and viscosupplementation, in which a joint is injected with lubricating fluid.
Chiropractic care is another therapy many people with acute neck pain utilize, as it could help reduce or eliminate their symptoms, while simultaneously enhancing their overall health.
A 2009 study shared by the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that chiropractic care appears to aid those suffering from this type of neck pain. While more research should be conducted in a controlled environment, the study concludes: “The ANP [acute neck pain] patients in this study tended to improve while under chiropractic care. In addition, no severe adverse reactions to chiropractic treatment were reported.”
The Northport Wellness Center offers a wide range of holistic health services for Long Island patients suffering various ailments, including acute and chronic neck pain. Our knowledgeable team works together to ensure our patients achieve optimal wellness. Contact us today to inquire about our services or schedule a consultation with one of our medical professionals.