How to Find Specialists and Treatments That Can Help
Neck pain is an extremely common condition that affects millions of people. While some cases are mild and resolve on their own, chronic or severe neck pain often requires seeing a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
At Kaly, we understand how debilitating neck pain can be, which is why we make it easy for patients to find the right neck pain specialist for their needs.
What Causes Neck Pain?
Neck pain has numerous possible causes, including:
- Muscle strains and sprains
- Injuries to discs, ligaments or cervical vertebrae
- Herniated discs or bone spurs putting pressure on nerves
- Poor posture leading to muscle imbalances
- Arthritis in the neck joints
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
Inflammation is a common factor that can make neck pain worse. Activities that strain the neck muscles and joints, poor ergonomics and older age can increase the risk. Neck pain may also arise from unrelated health conditions.
Seeing a Doctor for Neck Pain
Mild neck soreness often goes away within a few days. But if the pain persists for over a week, worsens, or causes numbness/tingling, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. An accurate diagnosis is key to getting the right treatment.
We recommend consulting a neck pain specialist if you experience:
- Constant, severe neck pain
- Pain or stiffness that worsens at night
- Radiating pain into the shoulders, arms or hands
- Numbness or muscle weakness in the arms/hands
- Headaches along with neck pain
Severe neck injuries may require prompt emergency medical care to avoid permanent damage.
Types of Doctors Who Treat Neck Pain
There are several types of doctors and specialists trained to diagnose and treat neck pain:
Primary Care Physicians
Your primary doctor is a good starting point for evaluating neck pain. They can examine you, order imaging tests if needed, prescribe medication, and refer you to a specialist for further care.
Orthopedists specialize in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal system disorders including neck pain. They can order x-rays or advanced imaging to pinpoint the underlying cause and provide tailored treatment.
For neck pain accompanied by headaches, numbness or neurological symptoms, consulting a neurologist may be advisable. They can assess nerve-related issues and order MRI or CT scans if required.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) Doctors
Also known as physiatrists, these doctors treat neck pain using nonsurgical approaches. This includes medication management, therapeutic exercises and spinal injections.
Chiropractors use spinal manipulation and mobilization techniques to treat restricted motion and realign the vertebrae. They provide drug-free neck pain relief.
Physical therapists develop exercise-based programs to improve strength, increase mobility and reduce neck pain. Treatment often includes massage, stretching and use of heating pads.
Pain Management Doctors
For chronic neck pain, consulting a pain specialist may help. They offer pain-relieving injections, nerve blocks, prescription medications and complementary treatments.
Diagnostic Tests for Neck Pain
To correctly diagnose the underlying cause of neck pain, doctors may order:
- Spinal X-rays – Images to assess bone alignment and check for fractures or arthritis.
- CT or CAT scans – Cross-sectional images giving a detailed view of the vertebrae and soft tissues.
- MRI – Uses radio waves and magnets to generate 3D images of the cervical spine and nerve roots.
- EMG/NCS – Measures electrical activity in muscles and nerves to check for nerve compression.
- Bone scan – Helps locate spinal tumors, fractures and sites of bone inflammation.
Proper diagnosis guides appropriate treatment. At Kaly, our neck pain doctors judiciously select diagnostics to uncover the source of each patient’s pain.
Common Treatments for Neck Pain Relief
Some of the main medical treatments for neck pain include:
- Medications – Over-the-counter pain relievers, muscle relaxants, antidepressants and anti-inflammatories may provide relief.
- Heat/ice therapy – Applying heat packs or cold compresses can alleviate inflammation and muscular pain.
- Cervical traction – A gentle, sustained pulling force is applied to the neck to take pressure off compressed nerve roots.
- Cervical epidural steroid injection – Anti-inflammatory corticosteroid medication injected near inflamed spinal nerves to reduce swelling and irritation.
- Nerve root block – A numbing medication is injected into an irritated cervical nerve for fast-acting, short-term pain relief.
- Radiofrequency ablation – Heat applied to spinal nerves to disrupt pain signals and provide prolonged pain relief.
- Surgery – If conservative treatments fail, surgery may be an option depending on the cause. Common procedures include spinal fusion and disc replacement.
- Physical therapy – Prescribed exercises can strengthen neck muscles, improve range of motion and prevent future injuries.
The top neck pain specialists will personalize therapy based on each patient’s unique condition for optimal results. Kaly connects patients with experienced doctors who’ll determine the right treatment plan.
When to See an Orthopedic Surgeon
Severe, chronic neck problems sometimes require surgery for correction. Seeking an orthopedic surgeon is advisable if you have:
- Herniated discs causing nerve compression unresponsive to other treatments
- Spinal instability from injury needing fusion for stabilization
- Spinal tumors or infections
- Compressed vertebral fractures
- Degenerative disc disease with intractable pain
Surgery carries risks so it’s usually the last resort after exhausting conservative options. Kaly partners with exceptional orthopedic surgeons skilled in minimally invasive spine procedures when surgery is truly needed.
How Kaly Can Help with Neck Pain
At Kaly, we make it easy to find experienced neck pain doctors who are the best match for your needs. Our user-friendly platform allows you to:
- Search for top-rated local neck pain specialists including orthopedists, chiropractors, neurologists and physical therapists
- Read verified reviews from other patients to evaluate doctor qualifications
- Securely book appointments online at your convenience
- Access telehealth visits for online diagnosis and treatment
- Get reminders before upcoming appointments to stay on track
We want to relieve the stress of coordinating care so you can focus on healing. With Kaly’s help identifying premier neck pain doctors, you can find proven solutions to resolve stubborn neck pain. Contact us today to take control of your health!
Frequently Asked Questions on Neck Pain Doctor
What kind of doctor should I see for neck pain?
For most neck pain, seeing a primary care physician, orthopedist, chiropractor or physical therapist can help diagnose and treat the underlying cause. Severe cases may require seeing a neurologist, pain management doctor or surgeon.
When should I go to the doctor for neck pain?
See a doctor if neck pain persists over a week, causes severe discomfort, or is accompanied by numbness/tingling. Promptly seek emergency care for neck injuries after accidents.
What type of doctor treats neck muscle pain?
Orthopedists, physiatrists, chiropractors, physical therapists and pain management doctors can effectively treat strained neck muscles with medication, exercises, spinal manipulation or injections.
Can an orthopedic doctor treat neck pain?
Yes, orthopedic doctors are experts in treating neck pain stemming from spinal issues, disc problems, injuries, arthritis and more. They can order imaging tests and provide both nonsurgical treatment and surgery if needed.
What kind of doctor should I see for chronic neck pain?
For stubborn, chronic neck pain, consulting a physiatrist, pain management specialist, orthopedic surgeon or neurologist may be best. They offer advanced diagnostics and minimally invasive procedures for long-term relief.
What type of doctor treats neck and shoulder pain?
Orthopedists, chiropractors, physiotherapists and osteopaths can treat pain arising simultaneously in the neck and shoulder area based on a proper diagnosis.
With the wide range of talented specialists available today, solutions exist for even the most stubborn neck pain.
At Kaly, we simplify the process of connecting with the ideal neck pain doctor so you can start feeling better fast. Let us help you recover and get back to pain-free living!