Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

I saw a short report on the news about neck pain. According to some new research, my life expectancy won't change no matter what kind of treatment I get for neck pain. What does that mean, anyway? How would my life be threatened by treatment for a pain in the neck?

Answer:

That report came as a result of some work done by a group of doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors from the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands. They reviewed the harms and benefits of the five most commonly prescribed treatments for nonspecific neck pain.

The treatment approaches included standard nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), selective COX-2 inhibiting NSAIDs (Coxibs), exercise, manipulation, and mobilization.

Some of these methods do have some potentially life-threatening adverse effects. For example, NSAIDs can cause internal bleeding of the stomach or GI tract. And cervical spine manipulations have been linked with strokes. Either of these problems can be very serious (even deadly).

But for the most part, treatment for neck pain is helpful and not life-threatening. When used with the right patients, the results can be reduced neck pain, improved motion, and restored function. Gabrielle van der Velde, DC, et al. Identifying the Best Treatment Among Common Nonsurgical Neck Pain Treatments. In Spine. Supplement to February 15, 2008. Vol. 33. No. 4S. Pp. S184-S191.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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