Chronic neck pain is pain that occurs over a long period of time. It usually lasts more than three months. The pain can range from mild to severe.
Contact your doctor if you have experienced neck pain over a period of time without relief.
Nerve Pain in Neck
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The causes of chronic neck pain are also usually risk factors.
Chronic neck pain may also cause you to have neck stiffness. Pain may be worse when moving your neck. The pain can be any type of pain including burning, sharp, dull, tingling. The pain may spread to other parts of the body such as the shoulders and arms.
Muscles of the Neck
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Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist. Orthopedists specialize in bones and joints. A neurologist or neurosurgeon specializes in the nerves and spinal cord.
Your doctor may need to see images of your spine. This can be done with: X-raysMRI scanCT scanMyelography
Your doctor may need to measure how well the nerves and muscles in your neck are working. This can be done using
Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Options include the following:
You may be able to decrease your pain by staying active and exercising. Your doctor may also refer you to a physical therapist. A therapist may work on strength exercises and stretching.
There are many different medicines that may be used the help you manage your neck pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)—to treat the pain and reduce inflammationAcetominophen—to treat painCertain antidepressant medications—sometimes used for neck painCertain antiseizure medicationsCorticosteroid injection—to treat the pain and reduce inflammation caused by disk disease
There are other treatments that might be helpful for neck pain. Low-level laser therapy— a light source is directed on the painful areaElectrotherapy treatments, such as repetitive magnetic stimulation, and nerve and muscle stimulationChiropractic careAcupunctureIntermittent traction (pulling on the neck)Massage
Most cases of neck pain are treated medically. In some cases surgery is needed. The type of surgery will depend on the cause of pain. For example, if you have a herniated disk in your neck, surgery will
remove the disk.
To help reduce your chance of getting neck pain, take the following steps: Maintain good posture.Take breaks from activities that do not involve movement such as driving or working at a computer.Avoid sleeping with too many pillowsGet plenty of exerciseMake sure your desk chair and keyboard are at proper heights.Avoid cradling the phone in your neck.
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Effect of physical exercise interventions on musculoskeletal pain in all body regions among office workers: a one-year randomized controlled trial.
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Last reviewed March 2013 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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