Question:I've had stomach ulcers from taking too much aspirin for back pain. Now I have neck pain and I need to do something else. Without drugs, what are my options?
Answer:There are some medications that can be taken for pain relief that are not linked with GI upset. Your doctor or pharmacist can help direct you to the most appropriate drug choice.
Second to that, physical therapy (PT) is a choice used by many patients. The therapist can help correct posture and alignment issues that may be contributing to your symptoms. PTs can also mobilize and/or manipulate the cervical spine (neck) if needed. This form of treatment is referred to as manual therapy. Exercises are often part of the program.
Chiropractors can also provide joint manipulation referred to as adjustments. Studies show that manual therapy is effective with neck and back pain. There's no evidence that one approach is better than the other in terms of life expectancy or quality of life.
Other measures may be used to help quantify the benefit of specific treatment approaches for each patient. For some patients that may be simply pain relief. For others, return to full activities at home and at work is their definition of successful treatment.
Talk to your doctor about the best approach for you. Given your goals, your past medical history, and what's currently available in your area, the right kind of program can be designed.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.
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