BPS 30: What are the Treatment Options for Neck Pain?

Neck pain is common in the US. The pain affects millions of people every year. In this post, we will explain different types of treatment options for neck pain.

Nonsurgical Treatment Option

Doctors recommend self-care as initial treatment for managing pain. Here are some of the nonsurgical treatment options of acute neck pain.


Most of the times, neck pain goes away on its own. Proper rest for a few days can accelerate the healing process of the neck tendons and muscles. During the healing period, it’s important to avoid strenuous movements and activities that may exacerbate pain.

Ice Massage or Heat Therapy

Ice massage or heat therapy can also help reduce pain. Initially, ice is applied to the affected area. Application of ice can reduce pain and swelling by closing small blood muscles. This prevents the swelling from getting worse. Next, heat and ice can be applied on an alternative basis to reduce pain.

Back Massage

Back massage can help soothe muscle spasms and tension. It will stimulate the circulation thereby accelerating the healing process. As a result, the pain subsides on its own within a few hours after a massage.

Improved Posture

Poor posture can also lead to neck pain. Simple changes can help reduce strain in the back muscles thereby eliminating neck or back pain. Proper posture includes sitting in a position whereby the head, body, and neck are aligned in a natural potion. Changing the sleeping position such as on the back instead of to the side or stomach can also help reduce neck pain.


Doctors may recommend medications for the treatment of neck pain. Medications that reduce inflammation or block pain signals are prescribed. However, medications should be used with caution. Taking more than the recommended dosage can result in serious side effects. You should always follow the instructions of the doctor when taking medications to reduce neck pain.

Surgical Options for Neck Pain

In case the neck pain does not subside due to nonsurgical options, the doctor may recommend surgery. Surgery can be carried out to stabilize the cervical spine, remove damaged disc, or decompress the spinal cord.

Surgery is recommended after a thorough physical examination and diagnostic test. Common surgical options for treating neck pain include the following.

  • -Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) — This is the most common treatment option for neck pain. It involves removal of the damaged disc from the cervical spine.
  • -Cervical artificial disc replacement — This surgical treatment plan involves replacement of the problematic disc with an artificial disc.
  • -Anterior cervical corpectomy — The treatment option involves removal of at least one cylindrical bone along with the nearby discs. After removal of the vertebral body, space is filled by placing a bone graft.
  • -Posterior cervical laminoplasty and laminectomy —These treatment plans involves partial removal (laminoplasty) or complete removal (laminectomy) of the lamina — a back part of the vertebra.

Surgical treatment is not carried out if there is a risk of any spinal cord or nerve injury. In all other cases, the patient has the option to choose if they want to go for surgery to treat their neck pain.

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Robin BackPainExpert

Physiotherapists & Back Pain Expert

Twenty years ago I was lucky to survive a serious hockey injury. In a sport where big men zoomaround on hard ice and solid wood sticks are slung furiously, a difficult back injury is what every player fears.
It took a long time for me to climb back to a normal life. But when I did, I was determined to spend the rest of his life helping back pain victims everywhere.
As a physiotherapist and back pain expert I have treated thousands of patients over 20 years, built a respected back pain clinic, created the site BackPainSecrets.Com and authored the book “Back Pain Secrets.”
Learn more about me here.