What will a doctor do for a neck strain?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

When it comes to treating a neck strain, a doctor may employ various approaches to provide relief and promote healing. One common method is the use of steroid medications, which can be injected near the nerve roots, into the spinal joints, or into the muscles in the neck. These steroids, such as cortisone, can help to reduce inflammation and swelling around the affected area.

The injection of steroid medications near the nerve roots can be particularly beneficial for patients experiencing radiating pain or numbness down the arm or hand. This is often caused by irritation or compression of the nerves in the neck, known as cervical radiculopathy. By targeting the specific area of inflammation, the steroids can help to alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with this condition.

In some cases, a doctor may also choose to inject the steroids directly into the spinal joints in the neck. This can be helpful for patients with facet joint arthritis or other conditions that cause pain and stiffness in the neck. By reducing inflammation in the joints, the steroids can provide relief and improve mobility.

Additionally, steroid injections can be administered into the muscles in the neck to help relax tight or spasming muscles. This can be especially beneficial for patients with muscle strains or tension-related neck pain. By reducing muscle tension, the steroids can help to alleviate pain and improve range of motion.

Alongside steroid injections, a doctor may also use numbing medications, such as lidocaine, to provide immediate pain relief. These medications work by blocking the transmission of pain signals from the nerves, providing temporary relief from neck pain.

It is important to note that while steroid injections can be effective in providing short-term relief, they are not a long-term solution for neck pain. They are typically used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, which may also include physical therapy, exercise, and other modalities. The goal is to address the underlying cause of the neck strain and promote healing and rehabilitation.

In my personal experience, I have had patients who have found significant relief from neck pain through the use of steroid injections. However, it is important to remember that each individual is unique, and the effectiveness of these injections can vary. It is always best to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate treatment approach for your specific condition.