Question:

What are my options for pain that won't go away?

When the Pain Won't Go Away, What Do I Do?

Persistent or chronic pain is the kind that won't go away, even with rest and conservative attempts at relieving it. If your neck pain just goes on and on, there are more aggressive measures your doctor can take to get you the relief you seek. Some are fairly simple while others are more drastic.

The first step to take is to have your doctor prescribe treatment from a physical therapist. A P.T. will be able to evaluate your condition and develop a treatment plan aimed at relieving your pain and restoring the balance of strength and flexibility necessary to maintain the structural integrity of your cervical spine. Through therapeutic exercise, stretching and education, your physical therapist can show you how to relieve neck pain when it occurs. They may also incorporate the use of modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation or traction to alleviate your symptoms.

Injections using corticosteroids near the nerve roots or lidocaine to numb the pain are another treatment option. Some people find immediate, permanent relief from these types of injections. Your physician may also feel that a more potent pain medication is indicated, something stronger than what you can buy at the drug store, or possibly a muscle relaxant.

As a last resort, surgery may be necessary; however, invasive procedures should be considered only after all other attempts at achieving pain relief have failed.

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