When to Seek Treatment for Neck PainDenton, TX
Neck pain makes it difficult to enjoy life. You do your best to participate in the things you love, but when your neck is stiff or hurts, it can be hard to do anything. Many individuals suffering from neck pain would choose to not even get out of bed. More than 1/4 workers saw productivity loss when dealing with neck or shoulder pain on a survey published to the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation.
If your neck pain is holding you back from getting the most out of life, it is time to visit a doctor. After diagnosing the cause of the pain, you can finally begin a treatment plan and say goodbye to that debilitating pain. If you live in or around Denton, you can be seen by Code 3 ER & Urgent Care at Denton today.
Signs That It Is Time to Go to the Doctor for Neck Pain
Sometimes, neck pain responds to self-care that includes heat, ice, and rest. Other times, though, treatment is needed. If you are dealing with neck pain and unsure if you need to visit a doctor, then there are more severe symptoms keep in mind. Anyone dealing with the following symptoms should contact their primary care practitioner or walk into an emergency room facility:
- Muscle spasms in the neck
- Neck pain that gets worse
- Neck pain that continues to linger
- If you injure your neck
- Pain moves from the neck to the shoulders, causing numbness or weakness
- Flu-like symptoms when your back aches
Muscle Spasms That Do Not Respond to Self-Care
Muscle spasms can make the neck feel stiff, reducing mobility. The neck muscles tighten, and hard knots might form. Patients can use ice, heat, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to alleviate the symptoms. If symptoms persist after a day or two or if the spasms prevent patients from sleeping, it is time to visit a doctor. They can determine the cause of the neck pain and provide the appropriate treatment.
Pain gets worse or does not go away:
Ice and heat can relieve neck pain in many cases. However, sometimes, the symptoms persist or get worse, even with the appropriate self-care. When the pain gets worse or does not go away within three weeks, it could be due to an underlying medical issue. Also, the patient might be aggravating the muscles and tendons without realizing it. A doctor can determine the source of the pain and help manage the symptoms.
Pain after an injury:
Patients who seriously injure their necks should call an ambulance or have someone drive them to the emergency room. However, if the pain is mild to moderate, they can visit an emergency room for help. The pain could be due to a soft tissue injury, such as a muscle sprain or strain. After examining the patient, the doctor can provide a treatment plan to help the patient recover from the injury.
Pain radiates to shoulders and causes numbness or weakness:
Neck pain is hard enough to handle on its own, but it is even worse when it moves to the shoulders and causes muscle numbness or weakness. This pain can be debilitating, and treatment is needed to begin the healing process. A primary care doctor can prescribe oral corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, which should reduce the pain and alleviate the numbness. Also, the patient might need to wear a soft cervical collar to keep the neck in place.
Pain accompanied by flu-like symptoms:
Body aches are common with the flu. Often, those aches include neck pain. A doctor can prescribe medications to reduce the severity of flu symptoms and shorten the length of time the illness lasts. People with neck pain and mild to moderate flu symptoms should visit the doctor. If neck pain is accompanied by a fever, vomiting, headaches, and sensitivity to bright lights, then you should seek a doctor immediately. These are potential signs of meningitis, but only a doctor can make an official diagnosis.
Frequent Causes and Effects of Neck Pain
Severe and prolonged pain in the neck could be a sign of a serious condition. Poor posture or osteoarthritis could cause discomfort and irritation. A car or bike accident, or a sports injury, could damage the neck muscles as well. These pains can limit the person's range of motion or even make routine tasks difficult. Sometimes, the feelings can radiate into the person's arms, hands, legs, or feet. The sources of this pain can be anything from a pinched nerve or herniated disk to arthritis, meningitis, or cancer.
Start Feeling Better – Visit Us Today
By visiting us as soon as possible, our team can help get you the professional treatment you need. Instead of waiting around and allowing the symptoms to get worse, we can provide you with stronger medication and treatment options instead of ineffective store-bought products.
Treatment Options for Neck Pain
Treatment options for neck pain can range from at-home remedies to medications and surgery. Often, mild pain can be alleviated from products found in your local Pharmacy like Blue-Emu®, Tiger Balm®, or Bengay®. If you are experiencing chronic neck pain, it is best to talk to consult a doctor immediately. A doctor can prescribe the right treatment plan and discuss if surgery is needed.
Over-the-counter drugs are a common way to treat neck pain. The doctor may examine the patient and recommend a product such as ibuprofen, Tylenol®, or aspirin. These medications can relieve pain and hold off any inflammation. If these drugs are ineffective, the doctor may write a prescription. Once the patient has taken all the required doses, the doctor will follow up and evaluate the person's condition.
Heat and ice
Rotating a heat pad and ice pack throughout the day may be the right approach to getting rid of neck pain. The doctor can recommend time intervals and how long the patient should follow this process. Heat and ice treatment can reduce swelling if the patient is diligent about following this strategy for at least a few days.
Stretching and massaging
The doctor may also suggest a few types of stretches and movements the patient can try. Slow but consistent side-to-side movement of the head and neck can stretch out the muscles and relieve tightness. Patients should not try any of these without the approval of the doctor. Ignoring the doctor's directions could lead to further injuries and complications. With the doctor's consent, the person may also see a licensed massage therapist to soothe the muscles.
Injections and muscle relaxants
Steroid injections may also be an effective tactic to battle neck pain. These shots go directly into the source of pain and can relieve the pressure of a pinched nerve. Muscle relaxants are another possibility the doctor may consider. These drugs can reduce the intensity and frequency of muscle spasms in the person's neck.
Do Not Put off Getting Help
You may be tempted to put off going to the doctor and try to deal with neck pain alone. This approach may work for minor issues. However, if the pain increases or does not subside, make sure you visit with a doctor to discuss your concerns and condition. Not only can the doctor use different methods to eliminate the pain, but may find more significant underlying causes of the pain.
If you live near Denton and want relief from neck pain today, you can walk into our Code 3 ER & Urgent Care at Denton facility. If you have questions about seeking relief at an emergency room, please call us at 940-535-7259.
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