Neck pain often requires nothing more than a little rest and modification of activities until strained muscles heal. If symptoms linger for more than a few days, however, or become increasingly severe and disruptive, it’s time to visit a doctor who is an expert is back treatments or spine surgery. Los Angeles residents can get a referral to an orthopedist or another specialist to seek an accurate diagnosis.
Gathering Patient Info
Diagnosing neck pain will start with an effort to understand how you’re experiencing it. This process typically involves a series of questions designed to define your neck pain as much as possible, including:
- How long have you been experiencing neck pain?
- What are you doing when the pain seems the worst?
- How often does your pain last and where is it felt?
- What kind of home remedies have you already tried?
Reviewing Medical History
The initial exam will also include a review of your immediate and previous medical history. This frequently includes:
- Listing medications you’re currently taking for any condition, including over-the-counter drugs and herbal remedies
- Results of prior tests you may have had for other occurrences of neck pain
- Any underlying conditions that may be contributing to your neck pain, such as diabetes and high blood pressure
You will receive a physical and neurological exam that will include a check of your range of motion and posture. Any observed movements that cause you pain will also be noted. An evaluation of your reflexes and an assessment of your muscle strength will be a part of any neurological testing.
X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs are the most common tests performed to identify the source of neck pain. Such tests can identify deformities and abnormalities like bone spurs and herniated discs. Additional testing may include:
- Bone scan: Identifies spinal deformities and bone-related issues such as osteoarthritis.
- Discogram: Determines whether or not neck pain is being caused by a disc issue.
- Electromyograph: Tests how quickly nerves react.
- Myelogram: Checks for disorders affecting the spinal cord or spinal canal.
You may not receive a conclusive diagnosis even after extensive testing since some forms of neck pain can be difficult to identify. Although knowing the source of your ongoing discomfort, or at least ruling out possible conditions and causes, often means a better-focused treatment plan.
Find the help you need to achieve a pain-free lifestyle by reaching out to the experienced orthopedic specialists at The Spine Institute Center in Los Angeles. Our dedicated team can discuss the cause of your pain and explore non-surgical treatment options as well as minimally invasive neck surgery for more advanced conditions. For more information, call our office at (310) 828-7757 today.