Neck and Back Pain

Neck pain and back pain are common issues affecting up to 80 percent of the population at some point. While some have pain acutely and heal quickly, others may experience chronic pain for years.

Musculoskeletal causes of neck and back pain include muscle strain and spasm, degenerative changes, pain from cervical discs, narrowing of the spinal canal, and spondyolithesis (slippage of a vertebra).   An exam and testing such as x-ray, MRI, CT and EMG may be done to evaluate the cause. Fortunately most causes of neck and back pain are treated well without surgical treatment.

Most people will respond to non-surgical treatment, such as non-addictive pain medication, ice, massage, stretching exercises, physical therapy, changes in posture and lifting, and trigger point injections. Some patients may require injections under fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance and a few may require surgery.

Neck and back pain may be prevented in some cases. Tips for avoiding pain include staying active, lifting heavy objects correctly, refraining from smoking, reducing stress, maintaining a healthy weight and getting up and moving around regularly for those who have a sedentary job.

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