3 Approaches To Treating Neck Pain From Arthritis

Posted on: 16 December 2019

Although you generally do not think about the neck as being affected by arthritis, several types of arthritis can be the cause of chronic neck pain. There are several approaches that can be helpful for reducing arthritic neck pain.

Reduce Inflammation

Reducing inflammation is easier when the problem happens in episodes because many anti-inflammatory medications are not designed for long-term use. During an episode of inflammation, retail pain medications, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin can be helpful. Some people find using hot or cold therapy is also beneficial, especially the use of cold when the neck is actively inflamed. If you find cold is intolerable, try alternating with heat. When arthritic pain is an ongoing problem, you may benefit from the occasional steroid injection. Steroids can work quickly to reduce or halt inflammation and may continue working for several months, depending on the severity of the problem. Ask your doctor about prescription NSAIDs, which can be more potent than retail versions, possibly allowing you to take fewer pills.

Pay Attention To You Sleep Position

A poor sleeping position or uncomfortable bedding will not only cause you to wake up in worse pain, but you may notice your neck is more likely to continue bothering you throughout the day. The best strategy will be to keep your head, neck, and body in alignment, which can be difficult to do as you sleep. Start by purchasing larger pillows, such as those meant for a king-size bed. Larger pillows will make it easier to have enough room for your shoulders, neck, and head. Additionally, you are less likely to end up with your head and neck off the pillow if you happen to roll over. As an alternative, a wedge pillow can be more comfortable since the wedge naturally slopes so your head is somewhat elevated. Instead of stacking pillows that can shift throughout the night, you have an all-in-one incline to keep yourself elevated as you sleep.

Consider A Specialist

Although there are some strategies you can do on your own to reduce pain, you may find talking to a specialist will be more effective at keeping pain to tolerable levels. Pain management specialists have many non-narcotic approaches to addressing chronic pain. Some specialists incorporate alternative treatments, such as massage or acupuncture, in addition to standard treatments to approach pain in a holistic manner. Nerve blocks could be another option if your neck is aggravating a specific nerve. During the nerve block, an injectable anesthetic is used to reduce sensation in that nerve, which can drastically reduce pain. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) devices may also be helpful since they are capable of sending a benign stimulus along the nerves, which interrupts the sensation of pain.

Whether your neck pain comes in waves or is an ongoing problem, there are several ways you can reduce the problem. If self-care is not working, talking to pain management doctors will give you access to more effective pain management strategies.