Daily life functions can be severely impacted by the constant presence of pain in the neck. The inability to rotate the neck, turn in response to stimulation and sleep comfortably can be degrading influences on a person’s quality of life. Reducing, and resolving, neck pain is priority for anyone who is experiencing this ailment.
When to see a physiatrist
Neck pain, in many forms, can come and go without warning, but often can be relieved with heat and/or ice treatment. When such pain persists for several weeks and does not respond to quality rest, impactful change to physical activity or certain pain relievers, it may be time to seek the advice of a physiatrist.
Should the pain begin migrating from the neck into the arms or hands, you should seek medical attention. Another sign to observe and be aware of is numbness and tingling in the arm or hand.
If the pain present in your neck is accompanied by significant weakness in your lower/upper limbs, and the pain leads to fever, chills and bowel or bladder changes, you should seek emergency care.
If you have a history of heart disease and neck pain is accompanied by left arm pain, you may need to see a physician for heart-related screenings. Contact your primary care physician immediately for an appointment to assess your needs.
Most neck pain is muscle-related, and is considered myofascial pain (this pain can occur in specific areas of the body, and any muscle can present a problem). The pain is often steady, aching and deep). When seeking medical attention, you will undergo a physical exam and possible imaging studies, if necessary, in order to determine treatment.
Anti-inflammatories and other pain relievers are your first defense against neck and other muscle-related pain. In some cases, physical therapy may be recommended.
If pain persists, you may be referred to a neurosurgeon or pain specialist, where you may undergo other treatments or injections.
Dr. Holmes Marchman and his team at Longstreet Clinic Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation specialize in diagnosing and treating patients who are experiencing musculoskeletal problems such as neck pain. To make an appointment, call 770-536-6300.