Neck Pain

4 Questions to Ask Your Neck Pain Specialist

Neck pain can be temporary or chronic, and there are treatment options available at The Spine and Orthopedic Institute at St. Vincent Charity, led by our experienced orthopedic surgeons Dr. Philip Stickney, M.D. and Dr. Brad Picha, M.D.

Neck Pain Specialist Near Me in Medina, OH
Neck Pain Specialist Near Me in Medina, OH

What doctor should I see for neck pain?

There are several options for medical attention when you have neck pain. The choice of health care professional will depend on the degree of pain, what caused the pain and any additional symptoms you may have. If you have symptoms such as fever, persistent severe headache, nausea or vomiting, irregular or increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, pain or numbness in the arms, sensitivity to light, rash or pain in the chest or jaw, you need to get yourself to an emergency room immediately. If you don’t have any of these symptoms, you can make an appointment with your primary care physician, a neurologist or an orthopedist. Your primary doctor can help you if you don’t have any other symptoms, you can’t specify an event that triggered the pain or if your insurance requires you to get a referral from your doctor in order for your insurance coverage to help pay. In the case of being able to hear or feel grinding, crunching or popping in the bones of your neck, heat or ice is only temporary relieving the pain or your pain started after a specific event that could have caused strain, you should see an orthopedist as they are able to diagnose and treat conditions that pertain to the musculoskeletal system. However, if you are experiencing a tingling sensation, incontinence, fatigue or having numbness or shooting pains that have already been addressed by your doctor, you will need to seek the care of a neurologist as they specialize in the nerve system.

Can neck pain be a sign of something serious?

For the most part, neck pain isn’t a sign of something serious and is a case of moving your head or neck the wrong way, sleeping in an awkward position or having strained it while lifting a heavy object. The majority of neck pain issues are caused by musculoskeletal or neurological conditions. In rare cases, there are times when neck pain could be a sign of a more serious problem such as cardiovascular disease, infection, cancer, rheumatologic conditions such as fibromyalgia vascular conditions or visceral causes. Symptoms of a potentially serious condition that requires medical attention include fever, nausea or vomiting, severe pain that doesn’t go away, pain radiating down the arms or legs, numbness or tingling, confusion, fatigue, dizziness, mood swings and loss of coordination.

Should I see a neurologist or orthopedist for neck pain?

The decision to see a neurologist or an orthopedist for neck pain will be dependent on the possible source of the pain. Neurologists specialize in conditions relating to the nerves, whereas orthopedists specialize in conditions relating to the musculoskeletal system, which consists of muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments. Symptoms of a potential issue with the nerves in your neck include a tingling sensation, numbness or pain radiating down your arms, fatigue or incontinence along with your neck pain. If you have these additional symptoms, you will need to see a neurologist. A visit to the orthopedist will be needed if you feel or hear a popping, grinding or crunching in your neck bones, you get temporary relief from heat or ice but the pain comes back or if the pain started after a specific event that could have caused a strain such as lifting a heavy object.

How can an orthopedic surgeon help with neck pain?

An orthopedic surgeon can help with neck pain that is caused by issues in the musculoskeletal system. Neck pain that is accompanied by a grinding, crunching or popping sound or feeling in your neck bones, pain that comes back after being treated with hot or cold compresses or pain triggered by an event that jarred or strained your neck should be seen by an orthopedic surgeon. The neck is made up of vertebrae, ligaments, muscles, nerves, spinal cord and disks which an orthopedic surgeon has received specialized training in treating. They will perform a physical exam and gather your medical history to determine the cause of the pain in order to make a diagnosis. Once the cause has been determined, they will provide you with a treatment plan that can include rest, medication, immobilization, physical therapy and exercise or in rare cases such as a herniated disk, they can recommend surgery.

If you want to know more, call us or schedule an appointment online! We serve patients from Medina OH, Middleburg Heights OH, Akron OH, Parma OH, and Wellington OH.