A pain in the neck. It’s such a common problem that it’s become a metaphor for other unpleasant things in life. But you don’t have to live with your cervical pain. The right neck orthopedic surgeon can put you on the path to a pain-free life. But how do you know when it’s time to make the call? And why choose a neck orthopedic surgeon?
Reasons to get treatment include:
1. If your pain is not going away
Living with neck pain is no fun and can put a serious damper on your way of life. Discomfort caused by a strenuous workout or sleeping wrong can last for a few days, but if it’s been longer than that and the pain is still hanging around, it might be time to make an appointment with a neck orthopedic surgeon.
Plus, neck pain can also be dangerous if it limits your range of motion. How safe a driver can you be if you can’t turn to look over your shoulder? Untreated neck conditions can also become more serious. Many neck ailments are degenerative and may require surgery; For example, cervical osteoarthritis, if left untreated, can cause bone spurs or turn into cervical myelopathy.
This underscores the importance of finding a neck orthopedic surgeon instead of seeing a chiropractor or other neck and back specialist. A neck orthopedic surgeon has had extensive education and training and can treat a variety of neck ailments but also perform surgery, if needed. You’ll want to look for a surgeon who is also trained as an expert in minimally invasive procedures. That way you won’t have to switch doctors if it turns out you need surgery and the specialist or chiropractor you’ve been seeing isn’t trained in or qualified to perform those types of procedures.
2. If your pain isn’t improving
Most neck pain improves over time. If you’ve been in pain for a bit, you’ve probably tried over-the-counter medications like Advil or Motrin. Maybe you’ve also been alternating ice and heat. Throw in a massage and a maybe a yoga class to get in a good stretch, and you’ve pretty much hit the limit on self-care for neck pain. If it still hurts just as much as it did when you first noticed it, you should be seen by a doctor.
3. If your pain is worsening
Again, your pain should begin to get better after a few days if you have a muscle strain or tension. If it’s going in the other direction, you may need treatment from a neck orthopedic surgeon.
4. When you’ve been in a car accident
Whiplash often doesn’t present until the day after a car accident, or longer, and, by that time, you could be in severe pain. While whiplash is a condition that doesn’t often need surgery, being seen by your doctor right away can keep your condition from getting worse and prolonging your pain.
5. If you’ve had another type of traumatic injury or accident
A fall from a horse or high distance, or a sports injury, can lead to a painful and/or catastrophic injury. It’s important to see a neck orthopedic surgeon right away for the best chance at successful treatment. Dangerous symptoms can include “signs of damage to the spine after an injury,” said WebMD, like “being unable to move part of the body; severe back or neck pain; or weakness, tingling, or numbness in the arms or legs.”
Ready to make an appointment with a top neck orthopedic surgeon? Contact DISC Spine Institute, experts in minimally invasive treatments, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate neck pain. Advances in minimally invasive surgical techniques make treating neck pain easier than ever, with outpatient treatment, small incisions, and a quicker recovery time instead of a long hospital stay.