Neck pain is something that people live with for months or years. However, if you have an old injury or your neck flares up because of your daily activities, it might be time to seek help with chronic pain management.
At Texas Partners Healthcare Group, we offer personalized services and results that help you feel better. It doesn’t matter if you have neck pain or any other type of pain; we invite you to contact our team for more information about available treatment options.
Neck Pain Not Improving?
When you wake up with a sore neck, most of the time, the pain will subside in a few days – or a few weeks as most. But if you don’t notice improvement, then there might be a deeper issue that needs addressing.
In most situations, minor or moderate neck pain goes away over time. Often, this pain is caused by straining or an injury. So, the pain will reduce when the injury heals.
But the amount of time it takes depends on the type of injury and the severity of your situation. If you are experiencing a lot of pain or the pain doesn’t seem to be going away, it can be helpful to talk to a doctor about your treatment options.
Medical Diagnosis Process for Neck Pain
The first step to addressing neck pain is to work with a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. A medical professional will complete an examination, ask about your medical history, and complete testing or imaging as needed:
- Medical History: The doctor will need information about your current symptoms, including where the pain starts, whether it comes and goes, and if there are any other symptoms associated with the pain. Additionally, you will answer questions about your daily lifestyle, sleep habits, posture, and work activities, since these could put pressure on the neck and cause pain.
- Physical Examination: The next step is to complete a physical examination, such as a posture examination, checking for muscle tightness, a range of motion test, checking reflexes, looking for signs of muscle weakness, and monitoring sensations (such as tingling or numbness). Not only is the doctor looking at your neck, but also other parts of the body that can be affected by neck problems – such as the shoulders, arms, or hands.
- Digital Imaging: Looking at digital imaging can be helpful for the doctor to see what is happening inside. Different types of imaging technology can be used in the diagnosis process, such as an x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI scan.
In chronic pain situations, this diagnostic process often begins with a general medical practitioner. Then, if the treatments are unsuccessful, patients consult with orthopedic or pain management specialists. Even if you have a previous diagnosis, our team will want to complete an exam to verify that we are working with an accurate diagnosis.
How to Tell if Your Neck Pain is Serious
There are a few ways to tell if your neck pain is severe. Watch for these symptoms to decide if you need to talk to a doctor or specialist about pain management:
- Current Activities: Did you recently complete a lot of yard work or lift something heavy? Or maybe you slept wrong last night? It could be that the activity hyperextended the neck muscles, and now they are stiff. This type of neck injury is minor and will usually go away with at-home care.
- Recent Accident: Whiplash can cause sudden neck pain, or the pain might start to develop over the coming days and weeks. If you have acute neck pain after a car accident or other type of injury, then it’s wise to talk to a doctor to rule out serious injuries. Also, medical care is likely needed if you notice other symptoms such as tingling, muscle weakness, or numbness.
- Poor Ergonomics or Posture: It’s possible that your daily activities could be aggravating your neck pain. For example, poor posture (such as hunching over a computer) can put pressure on the spine, causing neck and back pain. The muscles tighten up over time. Not only do you need to change your daily habits, but it’s also helpful to consult with a physical therapist and pain management specialist for relief.
- Structural Issues: When your pain doesn’t go away, even after resting, it could be a sign of a physical issue that requires medical intervention. For example, a bulging or herniated disc can aggravate the nerves and result in ongoing pain. When the pain or sensations are moving down your arm or into the hand, there’s a good chance your nerves are affected. Talk to your doctor about these symptoms.
- Other Symptoms: Neck pain can be a sign of a more serious issue, especially when it is paired with other symptoms. If you have dizziness, muscle weakness, numbness, or loss of bowel/bladder control, then reach out to a doctor as soon as possible.
You might not be able to tell whether your neck pain is just an inconvenience or a serious health condition. If there is a question about the seriousness of your injury, then it’s always best to talk to a doctor so you can rule out long-term issues.
Neck Pain Treatment Options
The good news is that you don’t have to live with neck pain. Even if you have been experiencing neck pain for months or years, treatment options are available to help you find relief. Modern technology and medical treatments offer more possibilities than ever before.
An effective treatment plan might include multiple modalities to offer immediate results and long-term relief. Our pain specialists can recommend various options, such as:
- Physical Therapy
- Stem Cell Therapy
These are just a few of the treatment options. We’ll design an effective plan based on your unique needs and treatment preferences.
For more information about treating neck pain and other chronic conditions, schedule a consultation with our team of pain management specialists. Texas Partners Healthcare Group provides a full range of services for people of all ages. We are here to help!