Dear D….

My reply to a support group post from a woman, who was prescribed muscle relaxers and physical therapy. This combination didn’t help after 2 weeks, so her doctor stopped both and prescribed Celebrex instead.  Celebrex seemed to help but she was concerned over the side effects her friends had experienced, including kidney damage from long term use.


Dear D…,

Celebrex helps but it is not a long term solution because of potential side
effects, which are different for each individual and of course there are the
lucky ones, who never have any side effects. I became allergic to all nsaids
after I was on high dose Celebrex for several months, which I hadn’t been
before. One Celebrex or an aspirin sends me into anaphylaxis.

If you don’t have out-right bony nerve compression in your neck and don’t need
surgery, then the right kind of physical therapy should help you.

It took me years of physical therapy to figure out that a lot of what is offered
by PTs is not the right kind of therapy for neck pain.

The right kind is to start off first with evaluating postural alignment, in
particular upper body alignment, and then begin a program of strengthening
certain muscles, mainly back muscles, and stretching others mainly chest
muscles, so that you can more easily maintain correct alignment of the
upper body. And the consequence of correct alignment of the upper body is
correct alignment of the head and neck.

After that, any other kind of treatment a PT wants to give: heat, ice, stim,
mobilization, traction, or other exercises may help but only short term unless the posture
issue is addressed first.

Posture of the lower body and also posture while sitting and doing daily work is
also important. How you hold your head, which is like a 10 pound bowling ball
perched on a stick of a spine, determines the stress on your neck muscles. Hold
the head out in front of your shoulders all day long and your back neck muscles are
over-worked and become very unhappy. And if you always let your upper back slouch,
the poor muscles that suspend your shoulder blades from your neck cry “uncle.”

If you have a lot of neck joint inflammation to begin with, allow at least 2
months of posture training to see reduced neck pain. My neck had gotten so bad,
that the pain flared with direct neck massage, cervical joint mobilization and
neck traction. A good posture correction program corrected that in 2 to 3

I realize that Fixing Posture First sounds counter-intuitive, but try it, it
might just work for you like it did for me.