You may have heard about back pain that is caused by things like sciatica, where the nerve gets compressed and causes pain, not only in the back but down one or both legs as well. One thing that you may not be as familiar with, unless you have experienced it first-hand, is neck pain caused by similar conditions. The only basic difference is the location of the nerves that are being compressed, whether they are in the lower back or the neck.
If you are having chronic neck pain, our doctor will likely try a number of things to get the pain under control before resorting to surgery. If these things do not bring about acceptable levels of pain relief, surgery may become necessary. If you are having chronic pain in the neck or back, you should have a discussion with our doctor about the options that are available to you. That way, you will be more aware of treatment options.
Epidural steroid injections are often used for the relief of pain that is originating in the spine. It is done when the doctor injects a steroid into the tissue that is around the spine with the intent of relieving inflammation. This will then take the pressure off the nerves and relieve the pain.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections can be used for chronic pain relief as well. This is done when a sample of the patient’s own blood is drawn and spun in a centrifuge machine to separate the platelets and plasma from the red and white cells. The platelet-rich plasma is then injected back into the body in the area where the pain is originating. The intent is to use material that is already in the body to speed up the healing process.
Sometimes, treatments utilizing radiofrequency energy will be used. They work by directing heat into the deeper tissues in order to improve blood flow and promote healing. Of course, physical therapy and the use of both non-prescription and prescription drugs may be used. They may be for the purposes of reducing inflammation or relieving the pain, or both.
If, after trying measures like these, the pain is still interfering with the ability to lead a normal life, surgery may be the only answer. We see this as a last resort, however.