When Your Neck Pain Could Be the Sign of a More Serious Problem

Feb 24, 2023
When Your Neck Pain Could Be the Sign of a More Serious Problem
Does your neck feel stiff and painful more often than not? That neck discomfort could be telling you something important. Read on to learn when it’s worth making an appointment with one of our skilled experts.

Most of us experience neck pain at some point in our lives. In fact, the commonality of this condition is arguably what led to the expression that refers to life’s little annoyances as “pains in the neck.” 

No one wants to live with persistent neck pain. And you certainly don’t want to be worried that it could indicate a serious health condition. That’s where we come in. 

Here at Alabama Neurological Surgery & Spine in Birmingham, Alabama, our expert team offers comprehensive neck pain evaluations. That means we seek out the root cause, which does two things. First, it helps us tailor a treatment plan to bring you effective, long-lasting relief. Second, it allows us to discover if your neck pain comes from a more serious underlying condition. 

When should that pain in your neck be a cause for concern? Let’s take a closer look. 

Causes of neck pain — and when they’re serious

A lot of neck pain comes from relatively simple causes like muscle strain or mental stress. You’ve probably felt some neck discomfort after sleeping in an awkward position or having a stressful day at work, for example.

In other cases, though, that pain in your neck is your body’s way of alerting you to something important. It could be telling you that you’re dealing with a separate health condition. Common neck pain causes include:

  • Arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Meningitis
  • Disc herniation
  • Radiculopathy (a pinched nerve)
  • Scoliosis
  • Cervical spinal stenosis
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Abnormal growths like tumors or bone spurs

Clearly, there’s a lot that could be at play beneath a persistent neck pain problem. 

When to make a doctor’s appointment

If you just woke up with a sore neck, you can give it a few days of home care. Stretching and massaging your neck, paired with ice and heat, helps bring effective relief if you’ve strained your neck muscles. 

If your neck doesn’t improve within a few days, however, give us a call. This is especially important if you’re experiencing other symptoms, like numbness, tingling, or shooting pain in your arms or legs. 

Ultimately, if your symptoms are confined to your neck, you’re probably in the clear to wait it out at home for a few days and see if it improves. But if you have other symptoms, or if your neck pain doesn’t get better with at-home care, don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

At Alabama Neurological Surgery & Spine, our skilled team of neck pain experts has the expertise and diagnostic tools to find out what’s causing your neck discomfort and create a custom treatment plan to bring you real relief. And if we discover that your neck pain comes from something more serious, we can help you address that, too. 

You don’t have to live with chronic neck pain. For the care it needs, call our Birmingham, Alabama, office today, or request an appointment online any time.