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Fixing neck pain

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TAMPA, Fla. – Aaron Bain lives to tinker. But his life began crumbling 19 years ago when his neck started hurting.

"My family, they have no idea of the pain because I kept it from them," he said.

Our necks are vulnerable. A lot can hurt them — from whiplash or falls, to tumors, even to texting.

 "Whenever you see some people the neck is all the way down and playing (with their phones) and that position is going to be a problem," said Alfred Bonati, M.D., Chief Spine Surgeon at the Bonati Spine Institute in Hudson, Florida.

Bonati says the quicker neck issues are addressed, the quicker the pain can recede.

"Once you correct it it's amazing to see how these patients respond. They feel like, ‘wow my life is back,'" he explained.

By being partially awake during his surgery, Bain helped Bonati pinpoint the exact source of the pain.

Bonati explained, "When we touch the nerves, we ask the patients 'is this the area where you hurt?' and the patient says yes, that's the one that goes from the shoulder to my thumb, and then we know we are in the right nerve."

And it worked.

"In the recovery room I felt the weight of everything, my attitude, my physical well-being, everything lift off of my shoulders for the first time," said Bain.

Now he is back in the saddle — in his garage working on the backlog of projects he started but never got to finish.

Stretching, heat or ice, good posture and using the speaker when talking on the phone, all can help relieve neck pain. But Bonati says if the pain persists for three months — it's time to visit a specialist.