More than 30% of Americans suffer from some type of neck pain every year, making it the fourth leading cause of disability. In about half of those instances, symptoms resolve with some TLC. But for the other half, symptoms tend to persist or even get worse.
Cyril Philip, MD, and our team at Midwest Sports and Interventional Spine in Franklin, Wisconsin, help patients of all ages relieve acute and chronic neck pain and help prevent symptoms from progressing.
If you have neck pain, here’s how to tell when it’s time to see an interventional pain management specialist like Dr. Philip.
Causes of neck pain
Plenty of people have mild neck pain from excess strain on their neck muscles or joints. Poor posture, strenuous physical activity, or spending a lot of time doing overhead activities can all cause this type of pain.
In most cases, it gets better on its own with a little rest, some heat therapy, and maybe some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication.
Other times, neck pain is the result of an injury, particularly injuries that cause your neck to snap or jolt. These movements can damage your discs, nerves, bones, or other tissues. Some neck pain is associated with an underlying medical condition or degenerative disease, like:
Anyone can develop neck pain, but it’s more common among people who are over age 50, smoke, and/or have jobs that put strain on the neck.
Many people have neck pain due to what’s come to be known as “tech neck,” typically occurring when you spend a lot of time hunched over your phone, tablet, or computer.
When it’s time to see the doctor
Some mild neck pain may resolve on its own with a little rest and activity modification. That includes pain you might have from sleeping with your neck bent at an odd angle or pain that comes from bending over your computer keyboard for hours.
But other types of neck pain may be related to a more serious underlying medical condition. These issues require prompt medical attention to relieve your symptoms and prevent them from getting worse.
In general, schedule an appointment if your neck pain lasts more than 3-4 days, if it gets worse, or if it’s accompanied by other symptoms, like:
- Radiating pain, weakness, or numbness in your arms or legs
- Headaches and neck stiffness
- Reduced range of motion in your neck
- Problems with coordination or balance
- Fever or chills
If your symptoms occur following an accident, like a fall or car crash, seek medical attention right away.
Treating neck pain
Dr. Philip specializes in pain management. That means when you see him, you can feel confident you’ll receive the most appropriate treatment based on your symptoms, your anatomy, your medical history, and other factors.
Dr. Philip customizes every treatment regimen using an array of options, like:
- Medication to relieve pain and inflammation
- Corticosteroid injections to relieve inflammation and nerve compression
- Radiofrequency ablation to block painful nerve signaling
- Activity modification
- Physical therapy to relieve pain and improve mobility
Like other spine-related injuries, early treatment means faster relief and often fewer treatments.
Don’t ignore your neck symptoms
Because neck pain can involve important nerves in your spine, it’s never a good idea to ignore your symptoms. In addition to relieving pain and stiffness in your neck, prompt medical care may prevent nerve damage that can lead to long-term medical problems.
To find out what’s causing your neck pain and how Midwest Sports and Interventional Spine can help, call our Franklin, Wisconsin, office today or book an appointment online with Dr. Philip.