Treatment for neck pain comes in conservative, moderate and invasive varieties of care. However, before treatment begins, the diagnosis should be verified and no doubt should be left as to the actual cause of pain. As in all manner of dorsopathy syndromes, neck pain is often misdiagnosed, leading many patients on impossible quest for relief. It does not take a genius to understand that in order to any neck therapy option to work, it must target the actual reason why the pain is occurring. If it does not, then the treatment is guaranteed to fail before it even begins. This might help to explain why so many neck and back treatments prove to be so incredibly unsuccessful in resolving chronic pain.
However, for patients who do enjoy an accurate diagnosis, there are still many options for care that can create quite a bit of confusion as to the best path towards a cure. This discussion helps patients to better understand their many choices in treatments for neck pain, as well as compare the positive and negative characteristics of each selection. On an important note, there is nothing wrong with using symptom-based care if you strongly desire to avoid surgery and are aware of the limitations. Some of the information in this essay is provided for the many patients who have no idea that they are in involved in symptom-based care and are illogically expecting to be cured.
Symptomatic Treatment for Neck Pain
When it comes to deciding if a particular treatment is actually indicated for your condition or not, you have to go beyond the accuracy of the diagnosis. Even if the issue diagnosed as the source of pain is correctly identified, there are often many varying paths towards treatment, including surgical and nonsurgical paths. The back pain industry is well known for its symptomatic approach to treatment, with many modalities offering no hope for providing an actual cure. There is nothing wrong with utilizing symptomatic neck pain treatment if resolution of the condition is not possible or involves too many risks, as long as the patient understands that care is being provided for humanitarian purposes (pain management) only.
However, most neck pain can be cured and few, if any, patients even understand what symptomatic treatment truly is. We would define it as one of the greatest scams in the medical sector, since the majority of patients in symptom-based care have absolutely no clue that they will never be cured on their current therapeutic path. There is typically no disclosure of this fact from doctors who are more than happy to keep accepting payment for what amounts to financial slavery. We have always been very disturbed by the way the patients are horded into symptom-based care until they rebel, then are pushed forward into surgery, then upon completion, placed right back into symptomatic care for recovery and rehabilitation. It seems like borderline fraud to us, especially when doctors do not inform patients of the limits of symptom-based care from day 1.
For all of you in long-term conservative care, including massage, chiropractic, physical therapy and various other noninvasive modalities, we will spell it out simply so that there is no misunderstanding. These care paths are not designed to cure your pain. They are merely coping mechanisms or general health treatments. You will virtually never recover from specific spinal problems using them, unless your body can organically overcome its issues through natural healing mechanisms. If you are not sure if a treatment qualifies to be called symptomatic care, just evaluate if it directly acts on the pain causing mechanism and has a prognosis for providing a cure in a defined timeline. If not, then it is symptomatic care.
Curative Neck Pain Care
There are many avenues to explore when deciding upon a curative neck pain therapy. Curative care will address and seek to resolve the actual reason why the pain exists. Virtually all curative modalities are surgical in nature, but some might be successful without invasiveness. When it comes to spinal sources of pain, surgery is the gold standard if you are actually seeking to resolve the issues thought to be responsible for pain. If the diagnosis is solid and the procedure goes well, then the patients might be fully free from the causative condition and therefore should become pain-free. Unfortunately, as mentioned in the opening paragraph, many diagnoses are not correct, leading to poor surgical results that are not actually working to relieve the true origin of symptoms.
For some disc conditions and a few forms of spinal arthritis, nonsurgical spinal decompression might provide a cure without any invasive care. This therapy is the exception to the rule of conservative care usually being symptomatic in nature. Additionally, epidural injections might be curative when the cause of pain is chemical radiculitis, since irritating proteins can usually be washed away with multiple rounds of injections, proving lasting relief. Epidurals are invasive, but do not qualify as open surgery.
For non-spinal causations of pain, there are many modalities of care that are viewed as being curative, such as physical therapy and massage, but actually the body is doing all the work and the treatment is really just a support system. Exceptions include times when actual changes need to be made in posture or muscle balance in order to provide relief, in which case, even the most conservative form of treatment, like exercise, can speed relief that might last forever.
Treatment for Neck Pain Guidance
Conservative measures are nonsurgical and are usually the first lines of defense against acute neck pain. The most common of these methods include physical therapy, back pain drugs and chiropractic. Intermediate modalities are used when extended periods of conservative treatment prove worthless or even make symptoms get worse. The most common of these choices include stronger prescription back pain drugs, epidural injections and spinal decompression. Finally, if the pain still lingers or becomes a deterrent to normal functionality, surgical methods are often employed. The funny thing about this progression of therapy is that all these modalities are used as a cookie-cutter approach to pain, regardless of the diagnosed source, with few exceptions to this rule.
No wonder this systematic treatment regimen leaves much to be desired in terms of curative results. It seems that the treatment is laid out well in advance of the patient actually needing it or seeking diagnosis and care. This cookie-cutter approach is just so profitable that doctors have a difficult time letting it go in favor of more customized, logical and indicted care, based on case-specific evaluation of the complete human being; not just their dorsal anatomy.
Our first piece of advice is simple: Learn all you can about your theorized source of pain. Understand the facts about the diagnosis and look for any possibility of diagnostic error. This sounds like a dismal recommendation, but it is crucial, since misdiagnosis is the main problem in the neck pain treatment sector and certainly the reason why most patients never fully recover.
Next, consider all your treatment options. Do not simply be led to the slaughter like some ignorant animal. There is always more than one option, and most patients will have dozens of therapy choices. If you are being steered in a particular direction by a care provider, this is because the treatment prescribed is the treatment they provide. It is pure business and is not necessarily in your best health interest. Do not become pressured by an aggressive doctor who threatens you into some expensive, drastic and potentially damaging procedure without significant research and forethought.
Finally, whatever path towards treatment you do decide to take, keep your care providers accountable. Ask them for a prognosis before each step and hold them to their word. Be sure to discuss the risks and complications possible from every therapy, including pain pills. This will help you to avoid health and wellness disasters on your path towards a cure.