The Neck and Back Pain Dilemma
In the big picture of aches, pains, and strains, the neck and back commands about 80% of the market. With so many options for treatment, how does one choose the right type, to get rid of this neck or back pain dilemma? Well, it’s important to start with one basic concept: Pain is not the problem; it’s only the symptom. The challenge is in finding and treating the cause. Let’s use some examples to explain………
If you had a thorn in your finger and it caused you pain, what would you do? Would you take pain medications or anti-inflammatories? Would you put pain-relieving ointments on it or maybe a hot compress? Would you crack your knuckles or try some chanting in a candle lit room? Probably not! You would pull the thorn out, right? Why? Because the problem is the thorn, not the pain!
Now let’s take back and neck pain. Back and neck pain can be caused by a number of reasons - bulging discs, trapped nerves, spinal instability, weakness, fractures, previous spinal surgery, poor body mechanics, and a host of other reasons. Each one of these requires a unique type of approach to treating the problem to make the pain go away.
Once the root source is identified, it’s now advisable to incorporate some pain modalities to calm down the acute pain and help with the treatment. The use of Ultrasound Therapy (not to be confused with pregnancy ultrasound) is an industry standard. Ultrasound acts to relax sore muscles and help stretch soft tissue. Another very common modality is Electrical Stimulation. Electrical Stimulation has many applications and can perform everything from muscle contraction to pain and swelling control. A popular home version of electrical stimulation is available for those who suffer from chronic conditions that don’t respond to formal treatment. This is called TENS (Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation). It works well because the user can wear the unit whenever needed and can be adjusted to the desired pain relief level. There have also been some new breakthroughs in pain relief technology with the introduction of the Iontophoresis Patch. This patch offers the wearer the ability to avoid needle injections and instead use low-voltage, electrical current to push certain medications through the skin to the desired area of pain. For those afraid of needles, this may be a viable option.
All said and done, the real trick to getting rid of your pain is in the process of testing, evaluating (example: finding the thorn), and then appropriately treating the problem. Beware of treatments that only make you feel better temporarily. Merely masking the symptoms only helps in the short term and ultimately prolongs your pain. This “quick fix” type of treatment may make your situation even worse. The answer is “Find the Thorn.” Seek out a qualified medical professional who specializes in neck and back disorders that can adequately get to the root of the problem.
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Physical therapy, provided by our expert therapists at Aspen Rehabilitation, is critical to treatment success for neck and back pain.