Managing Neck Pain From Osteoarthritis
Are you one of the many people around the world that experiences chronic neck pain? If you are, it’s important that you see a doctor. There are a variety of causes for chronic neck pain, and only an accurate diagnosis will ensure that you receive the appropriate treatment.
Stretching and Exercises
If you are diagnosed with osteoarthritis in the neck, it’s prudent to begin a proactive treatment program to help manage your symptoms. The best exercise programs for this condition emphasize stretching.
You may find a yoga program or Pilates program which teaches people with OA how to stretch the neck vertebrae, as well as the spinal column. This will help you to stay flexible and will encourage blood flow to the area.
Applying warmth, whether via a warm towel or a heat pack, provides relief to many people with OA of the neck. A warm bath or shower can achieve the same relief for pain and stiffness. Water therapy in a heated pool or whirlpool may also provide pain relief and can help to improve circulation.
Lots of people with osteoarthritis find that applying heat for twenty minutes prior to exercise allows them to move much more easily. This helps warm the muscles of the neck, and prevent straining.
Oftentimes, cold packs will reduce your swelling and inflammation. A bag of ice wrapped in a towel, though simple, serves this purpose well. You can also use a bag of frozen peas!
If you find your neck aching from activity, a cold pack will help to calm the inflammation.
There are two primary types of analgesics for controlling neck pain caused by osteoarthritis. The first is acetaminophen, like Tylenol, or NSAIDs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
Acetaminophen helps to alleviate pain, and it usually targets bone pain more accurately than NSAIDs. Aspirin and ibuprofen are anti-inflammatory analgesics, which means that they assist in pain and inflammation relief. If you’re experiencing significant pain, you might consider alternating between Tylenol and NSAIDs for better pain control. Remember to always speak to your doctor about any pain medication you’re taking.
Some people with OA use Tylenol, for instance, once every four hours so that it can be taken between doses of ibuprofen, which can be taken every 6 hours. Always allow at least two hours between medications, and speak to your doctor about any concerns you may have. Do not take more than one type of NSAIDs medication in one day.
Other Treatment Options
There are several measures you should take to manage osteoporosis of the neck:
- Rest your neck when needed to offer relief from every day strain
- Chiropractic manipulation
- Use of a cervical collar
- Physical therapy, traction, or exercise
- Injection of steroid drugs or local anesthetic in the affected area