Dealing with neck pain can be a challenging task. As it ranges from mild and annoying to disabling and severe, the question often arises, “When should I see a doctor?” In this article, Dr Timothy Ehn will outline crucial instances when seeking medical attention for neck pain becomes imperative.
Persistent and Prolonged Pain
As a rule of thumb, if your neck pain persists for several days without any sign of relief, it’s time to consult a medical professional. Chronic pain, defined as pain that lasts for more than three months, must always be addressed. Such persistent pain could be a sign of an underlying condition that requires treatment.
Dr Timothy Ehn Severe pain could be a red flag and necessitates immediate medical consultation. If you’re experiencing intense neck pain that restricts your daily activities or doesn’t lessen with over-the-counter remedies, it might signal a more serious issue.
Pain Following An Injury Or Accident
If you’ve recently had an accident or injury, such as a whiplash injury from a car accident or a sports-related injury, and you start to experience neck pain, you should medically address it immediately. These types of neck pains could be a sign of fractures, dislocations, or spine injuries.
Neck pain coupled with other symptoms might indicate a more serious problem. For instance, if you have neck pain with numbness or loss of strength in your arms or hands or if you’re experiencing shooting pain in your shoulder or down your arm, you should seek immediate medical attention. Other warning signs include difficulty swallowing, weight loss, or swelling in the neck area.
Neck Pain With Headaches Or Other Neurological Symptoms
If your neck pain comes with persistent headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, or any other neurological signs, it is essential to get medical attention. These could indicate conditions like meningitis or a stroke—both medical emergencies.
Unresponsive To Home Treatment
Dr Timothy Ehn Finally, if your neck pain is not responding to home treatments like hot or cold compresses, rest, gentle stretches, or over-the-counter pain relievers, this could be your body telling you that professional intervention is necessary.