Throughout your life there will be at least a time or two that you experience back or neck pain. These types of aches and pains can be brought on by overuse with work or exercise, change in the health or structure of the bones in the neck and back, age and many other causes. Often with a little TLC your back or neck pain will improve and resolve without even thinking about seeing a doctor. Conservative management for back and neck pain include applying heat or ice to the affected area, taking medications like NSAIDS to help reduce inflammation, stretching and maybe even physical therapy to alleviate symptoms.
It is important to know the difference between when you can manage at home and when you should see your doctor about your back and neck pain. If conservative management is no longer alleviating your symptoms or if they are returning quickly you should make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe additional medications, like a steroid, to treat your symptoms and continue a conservative approach. Imaging of your back and neck may be ordered by your physician to better evaluate what is causing the pain. An x-ray looks at the structure of the bone and can assess for breaks or displacement of any vertebra. Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI looks not only at the structure of the bones but also the tissue and vessels as well and can assess for ligament damage, swelling or pressure on nerves which could be the source of the pain. You should discuss your symptoms with your doctor, remembering to list things that worsen and alleviate symptoms, to help decide which treatment plan and imaging modality is best for you.
If conservative management of back or neck pain isn't proving successful, don't delay calling your physician and making an appointment for evaluation. The health of your spine is important and should not be ignored. The doctors at NewSouth NeuroSpine are here to help you feel better and live your most healthy life!