If you have ongoing neck pain, the professional to turn to is an orthopedist. Orthopedists are medically trained doctors who specialize in dealing with problems related to the skeletal system. Specifically, they look at the way that your bones interact with ligaments, tendons, joints and muscles throughout your body. When you have pain in your neck, the cause is often related to some malfunction in your neck's skeletal/muscular components. Below is a look at what an orthopedist does to diagnose neck pain and then to treat it.
The section of your spine involving your neck is known as the cervical spine. It is comprised of vertebrae, discs, muscles, ligaments, nerves and the spinal cord. You can easily experience severe neck pain if any of these components (or any combination of them) is injured or abnormal. When attempting to diagnose your neck pain, your orthopedist might:
Obtain your entire medical history and look closely at any prior problems you might have had with your neck or any illnesses that might have caused your current neck issues.
Carry out a thorough examination to determine how severe your pain is and how much freedom of motion you have in your neck.
Test the muscles and nerves in your legs and arms to determine if you have any nerve problems that might be related to your current pain.
Order blood tests, x-rays, or other scans to evaluate the bones, muscles, and other components of your neck.
Once the reason for your neck pain has been diagnosed, your orthopedist might propose any of the following treatment approaches:
A Period of Rest: In many instances, your neck pain can be resolved simply by resting and avoiding any activities that might place added strain on your neck joints, muscles, or ligaments.
Prescription Medication: One of the most effective things your doctor can do to treat neck pain is to prescribe medications designed to relieve the pain, relax your muscles, and reduce any inflammation.
Immobilization: Your orthopedist might also recommend the use of a neck brace for a while in order to alleviate your pain.
Physical Therapy: An orthopedist, like at Greater Dallas Orthopaedics, PLLC, might suggest you make an appointment with a physical therapist. This individual will be able to set up a program of exercise and stretching designed both to relieve your current pain and prevent any future issues.
Surgery: On occasion, your orthopedist might decide that your best option is surgery. For instance, if you've suffered a herniated disc or some other injury that is placing pressure on your nerve roots or spinal cord, surgery could be used to relieve this pressure.