3 Nonsurgical Treatments for Neck Pain for Long-Term Relief

3 Nonsurgical Treatments for Neck Pain for Long-Term Relief

Neck pain affects 15% of adults, and if you’re one of them, you know the toll it takes on your physical and mental health, not to mention your ability to get through each day. But take heart because you can get long-term relief without spine surgery.

Nearly everyone has experienced the pain of a cramped or strained neck, whether you slept on it the wrong way or spent too long bending your head to look down at electronics. The pain is even worse if you have a neck injury or degenerative condition like a herniated disc

So what can you do when you’ve tried all the conventional treatments (like anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy), and you’re still plagued by neck pain? That’s when it’s time to consult with the experts at Alliance Spine Associates LLC.

The Alliance Spine Associates team provides comprehensive care, from conservative treatments to spine surgery. But before considering surgery, they offer nonsurgical interventional treatments that give many people the long-lasting pain relief they need.

Here’s a rundown of three safe, effective, nonsurgical options for easing neck pain.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

TENS delivers pain-relieving treatment through electrodes placed on your skin, making it completely noninvasive. We place electrodes near the nerves carrying pain signals or at trigger points. The electrodes connect to a battery-powered device that sends electrical impulses into the targeted area.

The electrical impulses mask the pain signals traveling through the nerves. As a result, your brain doesn’t get the pain message, which eases your neck pain. The electrical stimulation may also boost levels of your natural pain killers (endorphins), adding to the pain-relieving effect.

A TENS session shouldn’t last longer than 30 minutes. If the device gives you enough pain relief, you can keep using it indefinitely. Though continuing to use it gives you long-term pain relief, you may find it inconvenient, depending on how frequently you need TENS sessions to get adequate results.

If TENS doesn’t fit your needs, you may want to consider two minimally invasive procedures: radiofrequency ablation and spinal cord stimulation. 

Radiofrequency (RF) ablation

RF ablation is a minimally invasive procedure using a needlelike device that sends out radio waves. We precisely target the nerve sending pain signals to your brain, insert the RF probe (much like giving you a shot), and use the energy to wound the nerve. 

The wound stops nerve signals, preventing your brain from getting the message. If your brain can’t perceive the pain, you can’t feel it, or what you can still feel is dramatically diminished and easy to tolerate.

This procedure offers two great benefits. First, we can treat nearly any nerve in your body, allowing RF ablation to ease pain from many different causes. And second, RF ablation keeps working until the nerve heals. After your procedure, your pain relief could last from six months to two years or longer.

Spinal cord stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation blocks pain messages traveling through the spinal cord to your brain. Implanting the stimulator requires a minimally invasive, two-step procedure.

We use a needlelike device to gently guide lead wires through the epidural space that runs alongside your spinal cord, placing the leads next to the targeted nerves. Then we implant a small pulse generator under your skin and connect the wires to the generator.

You use a controller to operate the generator, determining when it sends electrical pulses through the leads and into the spinal nerves. The electrical signals mask or block the pain messages, so your brain can’t get the signal.

You have a one-week trial with the lead wires in place, while carrying the generator outside your body. If you get significant pain relief, you can choose to have the generator implanted. After the spinal cord stimulator is in place, it can stay there, giving you pain relief for years.

If you need relief from neck pain, don’t wait to schedule an appointment to learn about your long-term options. Call Alliance Spine Associates LLC or book online today.