What kind of doctor do I see for neck pain?
For those who are experiencing neck pain – be it chronic or acute neck pain – than your primary care physician or provider may recommend that you see an orthopedist. Orthopedists are highly trained surgeons who specialize in the musculoskeletal system and, when it comes to the treatment of either chronic or acute neck pain, many consider orthopedic care to be the best available.
There are, however, alternatives to an orthopedist, which include physicians who specialize in the field of pain management. These specialist physicians are trained specifically in the treatment, management, and diagnosis of pain. Pain management specialists are especially recommended for those who are struggling to management their neck pain, whether it is chronic or acute in nature.
How do you know if neck pain is serious?
Since neck pain is a frequent complaint, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of when it is serious and when to seek medical attention. Neck pain, while rare, can be a sign of a more serious problem or underlying medical condition; it is important that if you experience neck pain that is accompanied by numbness or a loss of strength in your arms or hands or if there is pain that is shooting into your shoulder or down your arms.
For those wondering if they need to seek out medical treatment for their neck pain, it is important to know that for most people, neck pain will typically gradually improve on its own with home remedies and treatment. However, if your neck pain if you experience sever neck pain following an injury, such as a vehicle accident or a fall. Additionally, if you experience severe neck pain that does not respond to at home treatment, persists for several days without relief, spreads down your arms or legs, and/or is accompanied by a headache, numbness, weakness, or tingling, then you should contact a doctor immediately.
How do you treat chronic neck pain?
Typically, the most common forms of mild or moderate neck pain respond well to self-care and will resolve itself within two to three weeks. However, if your neck pain persists or is particularly severe, then your physician may recommend other treatments to help relieve and treat your neck pain. For treating neck pain, there are a variety of different therapies available, along with medications and even surgical options for those that do not respond to other forms of treatment.
If your doctor prescribes you medication, it will most likely be stronger pain medication than is usually available over-the-counter and, in addition, may also prescribe muscle relaxants and tricyclic antidepressants to help with pain relief, depending on what you and your neck pain respond to best.
Along with pain medication, your physician may also recommend any of a variety of therapies to help alleviate or treat your neck pain. These may include:
- physical therapy, to help with posture, alignment, and neck-strengthening exercises along with heat, ice, and electrical stimulation to help with easing your pain and to prevent it from becoming recurrent;
- transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, known as TENS, which deliver tiny electrical pulses into your muscles that may help to relieve the pain;
- traction, which makes use of weights, pulleys, or an air bladder to stretch your neck gently and should be done under the supervision of a medical professional and a physical therapy, which may help with providing relief for those suffering from neck pain;
- short-term immobilization is another option, it is a soft collar which supports your neck and may help relieve pain by relieving pressure on the structures of your neck, although it is recommended that you use this method sparingly as it may do more harm than good if use too often and for too long.
Other options for treating neck pain include steroid injections, wherein corticosteroid medications are injected near the nerve roots, into the small joints in the bones of your cervical spine or into your neck’s muscles to help with the pain – sometimes numbing medications, including lidocaine, are also injected to relieve pain. Surgical options are also available, although they are rarely used or needed for the treatment of neck pain.
For those looking for relief of their neck pain, then we at Neuropathy and Pain Centers of America are here to help. We are conveniently located at 8084 W Sahara Ave Suite B, Las Vegas, NV 89117. To book an appointment with us, please call us at (702) 620-8012 for new patients or (702) 257-7246 for returning or existing patients, or request an appointment at our website.