Chronic neck and arm pain is the most common complaint of the patients referred to Commonwealth Pain Specialists; second only to low back pain. Patients experiencing neck and arm pain often find it difficult to drive their vehicles and perform basic tasks at work and around the house. These limitations can make day to day life difficult. The specialists at Pain Management want you to know that you are not alone and that we will work hard to find a solution to restore your function and relieve your pain.
A Commonwealth Pain Specialists physician will first need to fully evaluate your condition before a treatment plan can be developed. A full patient medical history and family history will need to be completed to identify risk factors for any conditions that could provoke symptoms. A physical exam will also be conducted by your provider to observe the anatomy and assess the range of motion of the neck and arms. These findings will be paired with diagnostic images, such as x-rays of the neck, shoulder and arm, and a CT scan or MRI of the same areas which can help identify fractures, herniations, dislocations, or swelling.
Treatment will vary depending on the cause of the pain. Most patients will attain pain relief and mobility through a combination of non-invasive means.
- Rest can go a long way with neck injuries. Over use of already irritated tissue will result in increased inflammation which will cause more pain.
- Ice pack and heat therapy can be very effective at reducing inflammation and relieving discomfort in the neck and shoulder. Patients can alternate ice packs and heating pads at home while comfortably seated.
- Physical therapists may also offer more advanced ice and heat therapies through specialized equipment in their clinics. In general, physical therapy is a great way for patients to learn proper body mechanics and to strengthen extremities to prevent further injuries.
- An alternative to physical therapy, chiropractic care can offer effective relief for many patients. Chiropractic care is based on the manipulation of joints. When joints become misaligned they can cause painful irritation and limit mobility. Chiropractors utilize body mechanics to realign the joints and relieve pressure. Patients will likely need repeat sessions with a chiropractor to achieve a full realignment.
- Medications can also provide effective pain relief. Muscle relaxers reduce the tension from tight muscles which may be lending to the decreased mobility and irritation of tissue. Anti-inflammatories, like non-steroidal analgesics (NSAIDS) including naproxen or ibuprofen, can reduce painful swelling and irritation throughout the body.
While surgical options may be necessary for some, they are otherwise considered the worst case scenario for most patients. Commonwealth Pain Specialists puts the patient’s health and quality of life before overly-invasive intensive surgeries that may only offer minimal results. Patients with questions or concerns about surgical interventions to treat their neck and arm pain should speak with their providers.