Non-surgical treatments for neck pain

As you know I try very, very hard to control my back and neck pain but in particular I find the neck/thoracic pain very troublesome and debilitating.

I love making things with my fingers and decided I would knit some fun mug cozies for the family for Christmas to dress up the Christmas table. Now we are only talking about 45 stitches and a few inches long and I had them made in a night but if you had seen the state I was in afterwards, you would have thought I’d done ten rounds in the boxing ring.

I couldn’t even raise my arms without pain and the only thing that helped in the end was my electric head pad which I lay on in bed. I had an awful night but decided today that I would ring up the pain clinic tomorrow to request another epidural as I think I have slipped through the net it has been such a long time since they contacted me.

I then spent some time reading on the net and one of my favorite sites is spine-health which seems to have everything about spinal problems and I came across an article about non-surgical treatments for neck pain.

It said that with the help of the forum community of neck pain sufferers, they have managed to compile some suggestions that have worked for these people, who certainly know what it’s like to deal with neck pain on a daily basis.

Take a Swim – well when I read this as the first option I thought the rest would be what I already know but then when I read on a little I realized that maybe I could go swimming – not to swim but to float as they stated that forum members noted the therapeutic effects that swimming has on back pain and neck pain, specifically in reducing inflammation, providing quick pain relief and allowing for unrestricted movements.

Some of the ways to do this were simple things like getting the water level up to the neck and simply moving around squatting until the water reaches the chin, and then moving back and forth and to the right and to the left.

Another suggestion was to utilize a Water Pillow which is something I have never tried before. It said that the rejuvenating effects of water pillows allow patients to dictate the firmness of their pillow. Specifically, more water equals a firmer pillow; less water provides a softer pillow. So now I’m going to find out who sells them and give this a try.
For me even the greatest pillow has no chance against neck pain that interferes with my sleeping, so I would be delighted if I found something that would help.

Of course, various supplements were suggested with some that stimulate the hormone Melatonin (which is highest prior to bedtime) and allowed some to at least get some much-needed quality restorative sleep. I am afraid I have tried every single one in the health store and supermarket and just when I get excited that I think I am sleeping better I have a terrible night but I would never give up on this as there are so many more to try. My Doc will not give me sleeping tablets as I am on so much medication. I guess it would totally knock me out.

One thing they did suggest was to take Magnesium as many cases of neck pain are the result of muscle strains or sprains, speaking with a nutritionist about magnesium (an essential mineral that helps contract and relax muscles) so that may be worth learning more about as some forum members noted how taking magnesium helps with muscle tightness in the neck.

I knew that Acupuncture had to be on the list and as you know I have had very little help with this and had many many treatments which again seemed to work at first then nothing the next time. But it did say that some people find no benefit whatsoever so I don’t think I am on my own on that score.

But deep tissue massage which was mentioned is something that I find does help me but is only for a short time but as I find it very relaxing I try and have one a month but its not a cheap form of pain relief at the end of the day and often depends on the skills of the practitioner. Remedial massage was another one mentioned which I must admit I have not tried and as I have a spa day package given to me by my son on my birthday I think it will be something I could try. However I am always a bit skeptical that they may not know enough about the type of surgery I have had.

Holistic treatments like aromatherapy (during which essential oils are used for relaxation and mood improvement), meditative music, candlelight, etc. were also suggested but again that is something I use and do all the time – in fact I could not cope without my meditative music when I am lying awake in pain at night.

It then went onto say how limiting instances that often spur and exacerbate neck pain (like sitting at a computer for long periods of time, driving, heavy lifting, other activities that require heavy use of the arms) have helped achieve relief, but for me there is so little left that doesn’t bother it that my life would not be worth living if I stopped everything and I think i know how to pace myself after all these years.

One thing they did suggest which my Physio told me to do recently when I had a lot of numbness was to put ice on different areas of the body (between the thumb and index finger, on the bone 1.5-2 inches behind the ear, on the indent between the middle of the eyebrow) to help achieve relief from such symptoms. The main reason I have not tried this is just simply because I am a warm person and just the thought of something cold on me would put me off trying it, but apparently one creative forum member noted using a headband to secure the ice in these different spots and on the temple. And when his neck pain got really intense, he suggested slowly moving to and lying on the floor with a towel behind the neck.(Yuk !, how uncomfortable does that sound :??

Finally it suggest sharing experiences with other neck pain sufferers which may help spark other ideas for achieving desired pain relief and at least provide comfort that there are people out there who really do care but I know I have my blog friends who care so I don’t need to go to any forums for that help.

So, after taking it all into consideration I think I should try the swimming (I mean floating) in a pool, a water pillow, start taking Magnesium and try a remedial massage. Ice is something I really don’t think I could try unless it was very hot lol 🙂

Thanks for reading my blog friends :wave:

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6 thoughts on “Non-surgical treatments for neck pain

  1. Hi barbara,
    enjoyed your read…I’m having a bad time this week, you think your making progress then it comes tumbling down on you like a ton of bricks, probably my fault, tuesday after college thought i’d take the dogs cause i was feeling pretty good, so good in fact i’d do that extra mile so to speak….more than i’ve done in a long time. Got home, had tea, had shower, sat down then couldn’t get up, my hips had seized up…soooooo painful, it traveled up my spine and into the neck and shoulders.
    thought when i woke up wednesday i wouldn’t beable to go to college, wednesday is the best day, three hours in the morning, break for lunch, then 3 hrs in afternoon.
    I really don’t wanna miss college, you miss so much if you even miss 3 hrs, so i dragged myself in, I went first and had an aromatherapy massage then afer lunch I gave the same, i was hurting but managed it ok and was glad I went in after all.
    Today, i’m back to square one, back on the anti inflammatories ect ect ect…have college work to do, loads of assignments and thursday is put aside for that…bit of this, bit of that, you know what it’s like, if we are good we don’t stay in place doing one thing, we have to move about and do different things so as not to make matters worse..
    hope I feel better tomorrow…hope you feeling better, take care xx susan

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  2. Hi Sue,
    Lovely to hear from you but so sorry to hear your not good at the moment. I could not agree with you more about how your feeling. I’ve been exactly the same and in fact this morning I woke up and actually said to C (my husband) that I had fibrocitis in my neck which was what we all used to call it when my Mum suffered from it. I mean they don’t even use that word now but we all know what we mean so hope your Fibro settles down as the weather does and soon (well hopefully). Your college course sounds soooooooooo relaxing. I’ve not done my homestudy for a while as I just haven’t had the time but will get back into it in the New Year. You take care also and keep in touch and let me know how you go on with the Rheumatologist. Hugs Bar xx

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  3. Hi Bar
    Swimming is good but if I could recommend a woggle (these are the floats that are like long tubes), they can wrap around your body but still allow arm movement, also I would say do this in the baby pool as its much warmer, what you don’t want is a chill on your neck.

    I wish I lived nearer I do a fantastic neck and back massage, I could come over daily and I wouldn’t charge a penny, well maybe a cup of coffee and cake lol

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  4. Hi Barbara, Great post. I think that swimming is a great idea for any type of pain. In the past i have taking a “shallow” fit aquatics class- one can participate at their own level. These type of classes can really help you get moving and getting pain relief. But then again, simply walking in pool from one end to the other can be beneficial as well.

    Also, i might add one more suggestion for neck pain- traction. This stretch of the cervical spine joints and muscles can yield a lot of pain relief for patients with chronic neck pain. These days you can get so many different kinds of traction units, that are very comfortable- Helps with headaches as well.

    Thanks and have a wonderful holiday !

    – NJ
    http://www.neckpainsupport.com

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