It’s not uncommon to experience neck pain at some point in your life. As a matter of fact the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, over 70% of United States adults have neck pain at least once. And many of them pop their neck to get rid of the pain without knowing that it is bad to crack your neck. So, should you see a doctor if you’re experiencing neck pain?
What causes neck pain?
Neck pain can have various reasons, but the most typical ones are when the head is abruptly and forcibly wrenched forward or backwards. This common injury happens and is called whiplash. It may occur due to being struck by a heavy object, getting hurt while playing sports, or even in a car accident. Stressed muscles can also be the reason for neck pain. Poor posture, repetitive movements, or even sleeping incorrectly might cause this. The discs in the spine are impacted by the disorder known as degenerative disc disease. The discs may start to deteriorate and hurt as we age, so it is essential to care for your neck pain.
How is neck pain treated?
Neck pain can be treated in several ways, depending on the cause and severity. Many people find relief with over-the-counter pain medication, ice, and heat. Others may need physical therapy or steroid injections. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve the pain. If you are experiencing neck pain, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your treatment options.
When to seek the medical attention?
One of the most asked questions is, “when should I see a doctor for neck pain?”. The answer, unfortunately, isn’t always straightforward. It depends on the individual case and how severe the pain is. If the pain is severe enough to impact your daily life or causing you significant discomfort, then it’s probably time to see a doctor. Other warning signs that indicate it’s time to seek medical attention include:
- Pain that radiates down your arm or into your fingers
- Numbness or tingling in your arm or fingers
- Weakness in your arm or hand
- Loss of coordination in your arm or hand
- Loss of balance
- Difficulty walking or standing
- Changes in bowel or bladder function
You must get medical attention if any problems affect you more severely. The sooner you visit a doctor, the sooner you can begin treatment and feel better.
How to treat neck pain at home
If you’re experiencing neck pain, you can do a few things at home to ease the discomfort. Ibuprofen and aspirin, available over-the-counter, can help reduce inflammation and pain. Rubbing ice to the affected area for 15-20 minutes several times a day can also be helpful. Heat can also be beneficial, so try using a heating pad set on low for 20-30 minutes at a time. If your neck pain is due to muscle tension, try doing some gentle stretching exercises or massaging the area yourself. To rule out any underlying causes, it’s crucial to contact a doctor if your neck pain worsens or persists.
When to seek medical treatment for neck pain
If you’re experiencing tingling in the neck, you may wonder if you should see a doctor. The answer depends on the cause of your neck pain and the severity of your symptoms.
If your neck pain is because of a minor injury or strain, likely, you won’t need to see a doctor. Rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medication can usually help to relieve symptoms. However, the doctor must rule out any serious problem if your pain is severe or persists for more than a few days.
Certain types of neck pain may be a sign of a severe problem, such as a herniated disc or spinal cord compression. If you experience sudden, severe neck pain, numbness or tingling in your arms or legs, or difficulty moving your head or neck, seek medical attention immediately. These could be signs of a spinal cord injury that requires emergency treatment.
In many cases, neck pain is not a cause and will resolve independently with home care. However, if you’re experiencing severe or persistent symptoms, it’s essential to see your doctor so that underlying conditions can be ruled out and appropriate treatment can be provided.
If you’re experiencing neck pain, it’s essential to consult with a doctor to rule out any serious underlying causes. In many cases, neck pain can be resolved with simple home remedies; however, if your discomfort is severe or lasts for a few days or longer, it’s best to seek professional medical attention. You can create a treatment plan with the assistance of a licenced healthcare professional to quickly recover from neck discomfort and resume your daily activities.