Neck pain is a common complaint among American adults. Sometimes, patients get lucky and their neck pain goes away without seeing a specialist. If neck pain persists or worsens, however, don’t wait to see a pain specialist. Neck pain can interfere with work and sleep, and cause a dip in your quality of life.
Common causes of neck pain include muscle strain, degenerative disease, a herniated disc, and osteoarthritis. There is usually something not normal happening in the muscles, facet joints, and discs in the cervical region. Neck pain can also cause headaches.
If neck pain lasts several weeks, ask your primary care physician for a referral to a pain specialist. Pain is often complex and a pain specialist has a variety of treatment methods to provide long-term relief.
What is a Pain Specialist?
A pain specialist is a medical doctor that diagnoses and treats a wide range of pain problems, especially chronic pain, which is often complex and has many contributing factors.
Pain specialists can be orthopedic doctors, osteopaths, or anesthesiologists. They have advanced training in pain management. They have a very high level of training in treating acute and chronic pain. While seeing a primary care doctor (PCP) for all your needs may be convenient, a PCP cannot perform specialized tests to diagnose pain conditions and provide minimally-invasive treatments that target the nerves, where pain signals often come from.
What You Can Get From a Pain Management Practice
Treatment plans that pain specialists create are highly individualized. The treatments can include conservative, non-invasive treatments or minimally invasive ones. For patients with neck pain, the treatment plan may include (but not limited to) a combination of medication, steroid injections, massage therapy, and chiropractic care.
At a pain clinic, you can receive pain-relieving therapy options such as trigger point therapy, facet injections, radiofrequency ablation, regenerative medicine, and chiropractic care. Trigger point therapy relaxes the tight knots that have formed due to tension in neck muscles. Facet injections combine powerful steroids and anesthetic to relieve inflammation, providing long-term relief from pain. Radiofrequency ablation uses heat to destroy the ends of nerves where the pain signals originate. Examples of regenerative medicine include platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, where a concentrated amount of growth-factor-rich platelets are injected into the neck area to boost healing and relieve pain and inflammation. Chiropractic treatment involves cervical mobilization and manual traction techniques that reduce tightness in the neck and restore normal motion to the cervical spinal segments.
Pain specialists do not treat patients by masking the pain for the short term. This could be the case if you see a doctor without special training in pain management. With the right combination of therapies and techniques, you can achieve lasting neck pain relief.
Pain Management Doctors in Blue Springs, MO
At Core Medical Center, our pain specialists get to the root of your neck pain and treat it, so you experience lasting relief. We have an anesthesiologist, physical therapists, and chiropractors on our team, ready to help you become pain-free. To make an appointment, call (816) 427-0201 or use our online form.