The type of doctor that is best for your neck pain care depends a lot on your symptoms and their cause. That is the first thing you need to figure out. The good news is there are many types of doctors that can properly diagnose your neck condition. If you’re experiencing chronic neck pain – defined as severe pain for over three months – then you should go directly to a spine specialist or spinal surgeon. You don’t want to take any chances. It could be a serious issue. If you’ve just started feeling pain, a good place to start would be a chiropractor.
Chiropractors for Neck Pain Care
So how can chiropractors diagnose your neck and give you proper neck pain care? If you’ve never visited a chiropractor before, they’ll do the same thing a general practitioner would do – they’ll order x-rays. If they see anything that requires medical attention, they’ll refer you to an appropriate specialist right away. If they see that your spine is misaligned, they’ll begin your consultation. They’ll show you the x-rays and explain to you where the misalignment is occurring in your neck, what nerves are being affected, and why it’s causing you pain. They can then begin to adjust your spine, consistently over time moving it back into its natural position.
Spinal Specialists and Surgeons for Neck Pain Care
As mentioned above, if you have serious pain for a long period of time, you should consider going directly to a spine surgeon. A spinal surgeon won’t immediately whip out his knife – you can breathe easier. Both surgeons and specialists treat surgery very seriously and, when at all possible, explore non-surgical treatments first. These treatments can include physical therapy, a neck brace, injections, and medication. Only as a last resort will they suggest surgery. If your spine is more than just misaligned – if you have a herniated disc or other spinal condition – it’s likely you’ll need the help of one of these doctors.
Physical Therapists for Neck Pain Care
Yes, physical therapists aren’t technically doctors. However, they may be able to provide excellent neck pain care – either alone or as part of a treatment plan that includes visits to other professionals. They’ll be able to strengthen and loosen muscles in your neck that can help alleviate your neck pain – and speed up your recovery. They’ll also be able to give you tips on how to continue your treatment at home – including exercises you can do on your own.
So there you have it – a general overview of the types of doctors that can provide you with effective neck pain care. Whoever you visit first, make sure to have an x-ray performed before any treatment is scheduled – in the rare event that it’s not ordered or recommended immediately. Then you’ll be diagnosed, referred if necessary, and prescribed a treatment plan. Before you know it, you’ll be on the road to recovery and feeling pain-free again.