Is your chronic neck pain beginning to interfere with your life?
Have you waited for the pain to subside and your situation to improve but have realized that things just aren't getting better?
The reality is that neck pain isn't something that you should ignore. In addition to preventing you from living a full life, it can also indicate a much more serious problem.
But when should you make an appointment with a professional to help you to treat and diagnose the pain in your neck?
Read on to find out.
1. You're Dealing With Severe Headaches
One of the first signs that you're dealing with neck pain that's so severe, you need to seek out professional treatment?
If, in addition to the pain, you're also experiencing debilitating headaches, it's time to make an appointment with a physical therapist.
So, why do these headaches happen in the first place?
The spinal nerves that are in your neck. They are also directly connected to the same pain center that sends messages regarding sensations within your facial muscles to your brain.
This means that, when the spinal nerves in your neck are pinched or in pain, your brain can actually misinterpret this pain as a headache. We know that it sounds complicated but just think of it as a "crossed wire" in your brain. Essentially, these "headaches" might not be headaches at all.
Instead, they could indicate a serious pinched nerve, misalignment, or pulled muscle in the neck.
This is known as a "Cervicogenic Headache," and it's incredibly painful.
If you've noticed that you frequently deal with bouts of nausea, are especially sensitive to noise and light, or even the pain in your head is throbbing and nearly constant?
This could likely be a sign that the real issue isn't a headache, but rather neck pain.
2. Your Range Of Motion Is Limited
Have you noticed that you're not able to turn your head to the right or to the left without severe neck pain as a consequence?
If so, this is a sure sign that you need to make an appointment with a spine specialist as soon as possible.
Especially if you've recently been in a car accident, or suffered from another kind of injury, there could be more serious issues at work here.
Believe it or not, there are many different causes of a limited range of motion within the neck and the pain that comes from it.
You could be suffering from a dislocation, swelling of your joints, or even a fracture. This type of neck trauma could also be a sign that you have arthritis, osteoporosis, or even a torn rotator cuff.
Additionally, neck pain could also indicate that you're at an increased risk for a stroke.
Remember, just because you're feeling a pain in your neck, doesn't always mean that the pain is actually originating from there.
Especially if you have a limited range of motion, you need to seek professional treatment to prevent the problem from becoming potentially life-threatening.
3. You're Dealing With Numbness
Another sign that your neck pain is to the point where it should be addressed by a specialist?
If you've noticed that sometimes, you can't feel your neck at all. Numbness is a very serious situation and one that certainly shouldn't be ignored.
But what causes this sudden loss of sensation?
In some cases, it's the fault of what's known as a bulging disc. This enlarged disk actually ends up pressing down on the nerve root that's directly beneath it. In addition to numbness, you might also feel a pins and needles-like discomfort.
In some cases, this numbness and the other resulting sensations from a bulging disc can reach all the way down throughout your shoulders and arms.
If you feel these sensations in your fingertips as well--especially numbness that lasts for several days--don't delay in making your appointment.
4. Your Muscles Have Weakened
We've already spoken about how more serious neck pain can cause you to lose your normal range of motion when it comes to turning or tilting your head to the left or the right.
However, if you've noticed that other parts of your body feel weak, or that you are struggling to properly breathe or swallow?
This is one of the most serious signs of a potential problem. In some cases, it's simply the sign of a stiff neck--something that a physical therapist or a chiropractor can help you to correct.
However, in some cases, it may be a sign of a thyroid problem, a goiter, or even tetanus.
If you've realized that lately, you've been unable to fully close your hand or grasp objects in your first, you need to seek medical attention.
Sometimes, a pinched nerve in your neck can actually limit your body's reflexes, leading to increased neck pain and other issues.
Are You Ready To Seek Help For Your Neck Pain?
We hope that this post has helped you to better understand when it's time to make an appointment with a professional in order to manage and treat your neck pain.
Remember, if you're dealing with a loss of motion, headaches/migraines, weakened muscles, and general numbness you shouldn't delay in getting treatment.
Are you looking for the best possible neck and spine doctors in your area?
Whether you need the services of an orthopedic surgeon, an MRI, or just want relief from severe pain, we're here to help.
Spend some time on our website to learn more about the many conditions we treat and get in touch with us as soon as possible to make your appointment.
Relief is just around the corner.