Neck and shoulder pain can be a daily struggle, affecting your work, sleep, and overall quality of life. While surgical options are available for severe cases, many individuals find significant relief through non-surgical remedies. In this comprehensive blog, we’ll explore 10 non-surgical remedies to relieve neck and shoulder pain, focusing on exercises, modalities, and image-guided injection-based treatments.
Exercises for Neck and Shoulder Pain Relief
Neck Retraction Exercise:
- Description : This exercise helps improve neck posture and alleviate pain caused by poor alignment.
- How to Do It : While sitting or standing, gently tuck your chin in, lengthening the back of your neck. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then release. Repeat 10-15 times.A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy validates the effectiveness of neck retraction exercises in reducing neck pain.
- Description : Scapular squeezes strengthen the upper back muscles, promoting better shoulder stability.
- How to Do It : Sit or stand with your arms at your sides. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, hold for 5 seconds, then release. Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.Research from the Archives of Physiotherapy suggests that scapular exercises can significantly reduce shoulder pain.
Cervical Range of Motion Exercises:
- Description : These exercises improve neck mobility and can alleviate stiffness.
- How to Do It : Gently tilt your head forward, backward, and side to side. Perform 10 repetitions in each direction.A study by Anderson et al demonstrated that cervical range of motion exercises can improve neck pain and function.
Modalities for Neck and Shoulder Pain Relief
- Description : Applying heat to the affected area increases blood flow, relaxes muscles, and eases pain.
- How to Use It : Apply a warm compress or use a heating pad for 15-20 minutes, several times a day.The Studies have reported that heat therapy is an effective pain management technique.
- Description : Cold packs or ice can reduce inflammation and numb the area to relieve pain.
- How to Use It : Apply a cold pack wrapped in a cloth for 15-20 minutes every 1-2 hours.
- Reference : A study in the Journal of Athletic Training shows that cold therapy is beneficial for managing acute shoulder pain.
- Description : Ultrasound waves penetrate tissues to generate heat, reducing pain and inflammation.
- How to Use It : Consult a physical therapist or healthcare provider for ultrasound treatment.
- Reference : Research published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy demonstrates the efficacy of ultrasound therapy for neck pain.
Image-Guided Injection-Based Treatments
- Description : CESI delivers anti-inflammatory medication directly into the epidural space, reducing pain and inflammation in the neck and shoulders.
- Procedure : A healthcare provider uses fluoroscopy or ultrasound guidance to administer the injection.A study in Pain Medicine highlights the effectiveness of CESI in providing short- and long-term relief from neck pain
Cervical Medial Branch Block (CMBB):
- Description : CMBB targets the medial branches of spinal nerves responsible for transmitting pain signals from the facet joints.
- Procedure : A healthcare provider injects a local anesthetic and corticosteroid around the affected medial branches, often guided by fluoroscopy. A study in the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques demonstrates that CMBBs can provide significant relief from cervical facet joint pain
Cervical Facet Joint Injection (CFJI):
- Description : CFJIs deliver medication directly into the facet joints, reducing inflammation and pain.
- Procedure : A healthcare provider uses imaging guidance to ensure precise needle placement.A study in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine reports that CFJIs effectively relieve neck pain related to facet joint arthritis
- Description : Prolotherapy involves injecting a natural irritant solution into ligaments and tendons to stimulate healing and reduce pain.
- Procedure : A healthcare provider administers the injections directly into the affected areas.An article in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine indicates that prolotherapy can improve neck and shoulder pain related to ligament laxity
Conclusion: Finding Relief for Neck and Shoulder Pain
Neck pain and shoulder pain need not disrupt your life. These non-surgical remedies, including targeted exercises, modalities, and image-guided injection-based treatments, offer effective ways to alleviate pain, improve mobility, and enhance your overall well-being. Consulting a healthcare provider such as ALLEVIATE PAIN CLINIC for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
- Clinical Practice Guidelines Linked to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health From the Orthopaedic Section of the American Physical Therapy AssociationPeter R. Blanpied, PT, PhD, Anita R. Gross, PT, MSc, James M. Elliott, PT, PhD, Laurie Lee Devaney, PT, MSc, Derek Clewley, DPT, David M. Walton, PT, PhD, Cheryl Sparks, PT, PhD, Eric K. Robertson, PT, DPT, Roy D. Altman, MD, Paul Beattie, PT, PhD, Eugene Boeglin, DPT, Joshua A. Cleland, PT, PhD, John D. Childs, PT, PhD, John DeWitt, DPT, Timothy W. Flynn, PT, PhD, Amanda Ferland, DPT, Sandra Kaplan, PT, PhD, David Killoran, PhD, Leslie Torburn, DPT Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy Published Online:June 30, 2017Volume47Issue7PagesA1-A83 https://www.jospt.org/doi/10.2519/jospt.2017.0302
- Dubé, MO., Arel, J., Paquette, P. et al. Co-creation of an exercise inventory to improve scapular stabilization and control among individuals with rotator cuff-related shoulder pain: a survey-based study amongst physiotherapists. Arch Physiother 12, 11 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40945-022-00132-7
- Anderson BG, Benzinger B, Chickness J, Hietanen C, Hill K, Lucas JP, Tuck J, Ghassibi M. Effects of Cervical Spine Exercise Protocol on Neck Pain, Pericervical Muscle Endurance, and Range of Motion in Medical Students: A Prospective Study. Cureus. 2022 Jul 22;14(7):e27160. doi: 10.7759/cureus.27160. PMID: 36017270; PMCID: PMC9393318.
- Goswami S, Jelly P, Sharma SK, Negi R, Sharma R. The effect of heat therapy on pain intensity, duration of labor during first stage among primiparous women and Apgar scores: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Midwifery. 2022 Nov 28;6:66. doi: 10.18332/ejm/156487. PMID: 36474673; PMCID: PMC9703937.
- Wang ZR, Ni GX. Is it time to put traditional cold therapy in rehabilitation of soft-tissue injuries out to pasture? World J Clin Cases. 2021 Jun 16;9(17):4116-4122. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v9.i17.4116. PMID: 34141774; PMCID: PMC8173427.