June 14, 2024


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When to See a Specialist for Neck Pain

When Should You See a Doctor for Neck Pain? | Orthopaedic Associates of St.  Augustine

Neck pain can be caused by many different things, from muscle strain or injury to a degenerative condition like arthritis. In most cases, the pain can be managed through home treatments such as rest, over-the-counter medications, and ice or heat therapy. However, if Dallas neck pain persists for more than a few days or worsens despite these treatments, it is a good idea to see a specialist.

The first recommended step is to have a diagnosis made. This may involve imaging tests such as an X-ray or MRI, which can help pinpoint the cause of your neck pain and rule out any serious underlying issues. Some causes of neck pain include injury, poor posture, or muscle strain.

If you have any of these symptoms, it is advisable to consult a neck specialist:

  • Neck pain that lasts more than a few days: If your neck pain has lasted more than a few days, it could indicate a more serious underlying issue that requires medical attention.
  • Pain that radiates down the arms: Such pain can be a sign of nerve compression or cervical radiculopathy, which could indicate an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.
  • Pain that worsens with activity: If your neck pain worsens when you move it in certain ways or when engaging in physical activities, it is time to see a specialist for further evaluation.
  • Limited range of motion: If you have difficulty turning your head or feel like your neck is “stuck” in one position, then you may need to be evaluated by a professional.
  • Unexplained neurological symptoms: If you experience any unexplained symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or weakness, it is wise to see a doctor.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, don’t wait to see a specialist for neck pain. A neck specialist can properly diagnose your condition and provide the best action plan for reducing pain and restoring mobility.

 Types of neck pain

These are the types you should know:

  • Acute neck pain – this is typically caused by a traumatic event such as a car accident or fall.
  • Chronic neck pain – this can be caused by age-related wear and tear on the spine, arthritis, poor posture, or certain medical conditions.
  • Cervical radiculopathy – this type of neck pain is often caused by nerve compression in the neck and can cause shooting pain, numbness, or weakness down the arms.

Once you have a diagnosis, the specialist will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan that may include the following:

  • Physical therapy: This therapeutic exercise and stretching can help reduce neck pain and restore the normal range of motion. You can also learn postural and ergonomic tips to help prevent neck pain in the future.
  • Medications: Your doctor can prescribe medications to help reduce inflammation and manage your symptoms.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery is necessary to address the underlying cause of your neck pain, such as herniated discs or bone spurs. The procedures may involve spinal decompression, fusion, or laminoplasty.
  • Alternative treatments include chiropractic care and acupuncture, which can help reduce pain and inflammation in the neck area.

No matter what type of neck pain you experience, you should see your specialist at Magnolia Pain Associates for proper diagnosis and treatment.