When chronic neck pain stubbornly continues to affect quality of life despite numerous treatments, it is important to keep trying new ideas. Even in extremely challenging cases, such as pain that has lasted years or surgery that has already failed, an untried treatment or fresh approach may lead to an improved quality of life.
Rethinking Chronic Neck Pain Relief
While it would be ideal for every case of chronic neck pain to be completely healed, this is not always possible. In such cases, it makes sense to focus on other areas of wellness, in addition to pain relief. For example:
- Regaining more energy
- Boosting mood levels
- Achieving some pain relief, such as 20%, instead of 100%
These types of goals may be more attainable in the short-term and can provide a fresh outlook on better managing chronic pain.
Fresh Ideas for Managing Chronic Neck Pain
Here are some treatments that are not commonly discussed for neck pain but may help some people:
- Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Some experts believe that consistently eating an anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce inflammation and pain in the body.1,2 Examples of anti-inflammatory foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, beans, and fatty fish, among others. Inflammation-causing foods to limit or avoid include red meat, heavily-processed foods, and refined sugars (soda, candy), among others. One example of an anti-inflammatory diet is the Mediterranean diet, which has been linked to better heart health and lower cancer rates.3-5 A healthcare provider or nutritionist can help design a diet specifically for the patient’s unique needs.
- Mind-Body Therapy. Various mind-body methods can help reduce stress and increase awareness of surroundings that affect the body.6 For example, discussing emotions and habits with a professional counselor may help improve approaches to negative thoughts or challenging situations. Other mind-body therapies can be done with help from a professional or by oneself, such as relaxed breathing, guided imagery, or journaling about the feelings associated with chronic pain.
It is important to note that what works well or feels good for one patient may not work for another. In some cases, it takes a lot of trial and error to find the best combination of treatments to manage chronic neck pain. Furthermore, neck pain treatment plans may need to be adjusted as time goes on and the body continues to change.