Managing Neck and Back Pain: Tips to Prevent Muscle Strains and Improve Your Physical Condition––Centennial Medical Center

Managing Neck and Back Pain

Tips to Prevent Muscle Strains and Improve Your Physical Condition

By Dr. Paul Salinas, Centennial Medical Center, Collin County LIVING WELL Magazine

As our bodies grow older, we often experience uncomfortable neck and back pain as a result of various muscle strains, nerve compression and worn joints. Typically, neck and back pains do not require surgery; however, there are certain ways to reduce these aches. Simple alterations to your daily life, such as not tucking you phone between your ear and neck when talking or adjusting your computer monitor to eye level, may be enough to ease your pain. Dr. Paul Salinas, a spine fellowship-trained neurosurgeon on the medical staff at Centennial Medical Center in Frisco, Texas, discusses important information on neck and back pain, and gives tips for preventing strains and improving your physical condition.

In general, sudden back pain often gets better without any treatment. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin often relieve pain. Additionally, using an ice pack to reduce inflammation followed by a warm shower can help relax sore muscles. However, if back pain does not improve with self-care measures within a few weeks, a doctor may prescribe medications such as muscle relaxants or cortisone injections, which temporarily decrease inflammation around nerve roots near the spinal cord. Physical therapy consisting of stretching and specialized exercises to strengthen back and abdominal muscles may also be recommended by your doctor.

Avoid neck and back pain by improving your overall physical condition, practicing good body mechanics and following these easy tips:

  • Make time to stretch after long periods of sitting
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoid improper lifting and sudden movements
  • Build muscle strength and flexibility
  • Give the neck a chance to rest from holding up the head by lying down
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as it puts your neck in an unnatural, rotated position

“Injuries and certain diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, or cancerous tumors in the spine are known to cause neck and back pains and should be handled by a physician immediately,” says Salinas.

Centennial recently underwent a rigorous onsite review in February 2013 and was awarded The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for its spinal surgery program. Centennial is the third full-service hospital in Texas to receive this certification and continues to demonstrate compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality.

For more information on neck and back pain, talk with your doctor or visit