It is tough to enjoy life when you have neck pain. You try your hardest to participate in the activities you enjoy, but when your neck is stiff or hurts, it can be difficult to do it. Many people who suffer from neck pain would rather not even get out of bed. According to a survey published in the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, more than a quarter of workers experienced productivity loss due to neck or shoulder pain.
If neck pain is preventing you from getting the most out of life, it is time to see a doctor. After determining the source of the discomfort, you can finally begin treatment and say goodbye to the incapacitating pain.
Signs That It’s Time to See a Doctor About Neck Pain
Neck pain may respond to self-care measures such as heat, ice, and rest. Other times, however, treatment is required. If you have neck pain and are unclear if you should see a doctor, there are some more serious signs to consider. Anyone experiencing the following symptoms should contact their primary care physician.
- Spasms in the neck muscles;
- Neck ache that worsens;
- Neck ache that does not go away;
- If you hurt your neck;
- The pain spreads from the neck to the shoulders, resulting in numbness or weakness;
- When your back hurts, you may experience flu-like symptoms.
Self-Care Doesn’t Work for Muscle Spasms
Muscle spasms can cause stiffness in the neck, limiting mobility. The muscles in the neck tense and stiff knots may form. To relieve symptoms, patients can utilize ice, heat, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs. If the symptoms remain after a day or two, or if the spasms keep patients awake, it is necessary to see a doctor. They can discover the source of the neck pain and treat it accordingly.
In many circumstances, ice and heat can relieve neck discomfort. However, even with good self-care, symptoms might continue or worsen. If the discomfort worsens or does not go away within three weeks, it could be due to a medical problem. In addition, the patient may be irritating the muscles and tendons unknowingly. A doctor can help you find the source of your discomfort and manage the symptoms.
Patients who have significantly injured their necks should contact an ambulance or have someone drive them to the emergency department. If the discomfort is mild to severe, they can seek assistance from an urgent care provider. A soft tissue injury, such as a muscular sprain or strain, could be causing the pain. Following an examination of the patient, the doctor can recommend a treatment plan to assist the patient in recovering from the injury.
Neck discomfort is difficult to deal with on its own, but it becomes even more difficult when it spreads to the shoulders, causing muscle numbness or weakness. This discomfort can be crippling, and treatment is required to start the healing process. A primary care physician can give oral corticosteroids to decrease inflammation, which should relieve pain and numbness. A soft cervical collar may also be required to hold the patient’s neck in place.
Pain Along With Flu-Like Symptoms
The flu is known to cause body aches. Those aches frequently involve neck pain. A doctor can prescribe drugs to alleviate flu symptoms and minimize the duration of the disease. People experiencing neck pain and mild to moderate flu symptoms should see a doctor. If your neck pain is accompanied by a fever, vomiting, headaches, or sensitivity to bright lights, you should consult a doctor right away. These are possible symptoms of meningitis, but only a specialist can provide a definitive diagnosis.