When to Seek Medical Care for Neck Pain

These days, neck pain is more common than ever. With a smartphone in every hand and a computer on every lap, technology has our necks bent out of shape — literally. Sometimes called “tech neck” or “text neck,” this phenomenon can plague anyone who constantly looks down at their electronic devices. 

Considering your head weighs about 12 pounds, your neck is essentially holding up a bowling ball all day long. If you tip it forward to look down, the pressure that “bowling ball” puts on your cervical spine (your neck) increases progressively: just a 15-degree tilt makes your head feel like it weighs 29 pounds, and if you bend your neck 30 degrees, it’s equivalent to upping the weight to 40 pounds of pressure. It’s no wonder so many people have neck pain.

If you’re one of them, our team of pain management and musculoskeletal experts at Regency Pain & Therapy Institute can get to the root of the problem and treat it before it gets worse. But how do you know when your neck pain is just a temporary annoyance or a serious medical condition? Here are some signs that you should come in to find out.

You’ve lost range of motion

Your neck is incredibly flexible and can usually twist and turn with ease, but that’s the very thing that makes it vulnerable to injury. Something as simple as sleeping in an odd position or bending over your laptop for hours can cause pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. In most cases, this goes away with a little rest. But if it doesn’t stop in a day or two, it may be more than a minor problem.

You may have strained your muscles or sprained the ligaments in your neck. Car crashes are notorious for causing this type of injury, called whiplash, but it can happen any time your head whips forward and back. Although it typically heals on its own over time, we can assess the severity of your injury, immobilize the neck if necessary, and help you keep the pain and inflammation down.

You have headaches with your neck pain

Head and neck pain are closely related and often go hand-in-hand. In fact, it may be hard to tell if your head pain is causing your neck pain or the other way around. Certain types of headaches can travel down to your neck, including:

On the other hand, neck pain can travel up to your head as well. If damaged nerves, discs, muscles, or joints are the problem, the pain can go to your head, typically staying on one side or the other. This is called a cervicogenic headache.

If you feel a shocking pain in the back of your head, it may be due to nerve damage called occipital neuralgia. Any time your nerves are involved, it’s best to have us evaluate your condition.

Your neck pain extends to your arms

Sometimes, the nerves that run through your spinal canal get pinched between the vertebrae and scream out in pain. It may be because of a herniated disc, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine), tumors, or infection. The nerves that begin in the cervical section of your spine extend through your shoulders, down your arms, and into your hands, so if you have a compressed nerve in your neck, it may cause sensations all the way down the line. 

We call this radiculopathy, and typical signs are:

Whether you feel these in your shoulders, arms, or hands, it’s a sure sign you need to seek medical attention.

Getting rid of your neck pain

Regardless of the underlying condition triggering that pain in your neck, we can help resolve it. We bring an interdisciplinary approach to your neck pain that embraces a wide spectrum of treatment options. Our innovative pain management techniques bring fast relief so you can get to the work of healing through physical therapy or regenerative medicine

Don’t suffer with your neck pain any longer. Help is close by at Regency Pain & Therapy Institute in Mansfield, Texas. Call our friendly staff at 817-435-1642 today to set up a consultation with our medical team, or send us a message online, and get to the bottom of your aching neck.

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