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J Korean Neurosurg Soc. 2017 Jul;60(4):456-464. English. Original Article.
Seong HY , Lee MK , Jeon SR , Roh SW , Rhim SC , Park JH .
Department of Neurological Surgery, Bumin Hospital Seoul, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Neurology, Gangneung Asan Hospital, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Gangneung, Korea.
Department of Neurological Surgery, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Neurological Surgery, Gangneung Asan Hospital, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Gangneung, Korea.

OBJECTIVE: Although little is known about its origins, neck pain may be related to several associated anatomical pathologies. We aimed to characterize the incidence and features of chronic neck pain and analyze the relationship between neck pain severity and its affecting factors. METHODS: Between March 2012 and July 2013, we studied 216 patients with chronic neck pain. Initially, combined tramadol (37.5 mg) plus acetaminophen (325 mg) was administered orally twice daily (b.i.d.) to all patients over a 2-week period. After two weeks, patients were evaluated for neck pain during an outpatient clinic visit. If the numeric rating scale of the patient had not decreased to 5 or lower, a cervical medial branch block (MBB) was recommended after double-dosed previous medication trial. We classified all patients into two groups (mild vs. severe neck pain group), based on medication efficacy. Logistic regression tests were used to evaluate the factors associated with neck pain severity. RESULTS: A total of 198 patients were included in the analyses, due to follow-up loss in 18 patients. While medication was successful in reducing pain in 68.2% patients with chronic neck pain, the remaining patients required cervical MBB. Lateral cervical curvature, such as a straight or sigmoid type curve, was found to be significantly associated with the severity of neck pain. CONCLUSION: We managed chronic neck pain with a simple pharmacological management protocol followed by MBB. We should keep in mind that it may be difficult to manage the patient with straight or sigmoid lateral curvature only with oral medication.

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