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Chronic Neck Pain

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by Kellicker PG

(Neck Pain, Chronic)



Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Options include the following:

Activity and Exercise

You may be able to decrease your pain by staying active and exercising. Your doctor may also refer you to a physical therapist. A therapist may work on strength exercises and stretching.

Other Treatments

There are other treatments that might be helpful for neck pain.
  • Low-level laser therapy— a light source is directed on the painful area
  • Electrotherapy treatments, such as repetitive magnetic stimulation, and nerve and muscle stimulation
  • Chiropractic care
  • Acupuncture
  • Intermittent traction (pulling on the neck)
  • Massage


Most cases of neck pain are treated medically. In some cases surgery is needed. The type of surgery will depend on the cause of pain. For example, if you have a herniated disk in your neck, surgery will remove the disk.


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians



Canadian Orthopaedic Association

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation



Langevin P, Lowcock J, Weber J, Nolan M, Gross AR, Peloso PM, Roberts J, Graham N, Goldsmith CH, Burnie SJ, Haines T; Cervical Overview Group. Botulinum toxin intramuscular injections for neck pain: a systematic review and metaanalysis. J Rheumatol. 2011;38(2):203-214.

Misailidou V, Malliou P, et al. Assessment of patients with neck pain: a review of definitions, selection criteria, and measurement tools. J Chiropr Med. 2010 Jun;9(2):49-59.

Neck pain. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: Accessed September 11, 2014.

Neck pain. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: Updated December 2013. Accessed September 11, 2014.

Neck pain. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated July 18, 2014. Accessed September 11, 2014.

What a pain in the neck! American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation website. Available at: Accessed September 11, 2014.

12/31/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Chow RT, Johnson MI, Lopes-Martins RA, Bjordal JM. Efficacy of low-level laser therapy in the management of neck pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo or active-treatment controlled trials. Lancet. 2009;374:1897-1908.

12/17/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Andersen LL, Christensen KB, Holtermann A, et al. Effect of physical exercise interventions on musculoskeletal pain in all body regions among office workers: a one-year randomized controlled trial. Man Ther. 2010;15(1):100-104.

11/11/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Kroeling P, Gross A, et al. Electrotherapy for neck pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Aug 26;8.


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