If you’re experiencing chronic or severe neck pain, it’s not always clear when it makes sense to consult with a neurosurgeon. Neck pain can be caused by a wide range of different conditions that all require different levels of care, including degenerative disc disease, arthritis, spinal stenosis, cervical radiculopathy, or cervical spondylosis, among many other potential causes.
Further complicating things, the severity, treatment, and expected recovery times for each of these conditions may vary greatly. All of this can make it difficult to know when you should reach out to a neurosurgeon, but there are a few general signs it’s time to consult with a neurosurgeon.
4 Signs It’s Time to Consult with a Neurosurgeon for the Treatment of Neck Pain
Neurosurgeons treat the source of neck pain when severe symptoms persist without responding to conservative forms of treatment. There are four common signs, regardless of the condition causing your neck pain, that’s it’s time to speak with a neurosurgeon.
1. When Pain Treatments Fail
If severe pain symptoms aren’t alleviated by pain injections or other forms of pain management, then it’s possible the underlying cause of your neck pain is not curing itself and may need surgical correction.
2. When Physical Therapy or Visits to the Chiropractor Don’t Help
For the most part, physical therapy and chiropractic therapy aren’t intended to provide immediate results. However, if severe neck pain symptoms persist after several weeks of visiting a physical therapist or chiropractor, it may be time to consult with a neurosurgeon about surgical treatment.
3. When You Experience Symptoms that Need Addressed Urgently
When neck pain radiates down one or both arms or is associated with numbness or weakness in the arm, this could be a sign of severe nerve root compression. Spinal cord compression can cause numbness and weakness in the hands or arms, or you may feel an imbalance when walking. These symptoms signal a potential emergency and should be addressed soon.
4. When an MRI or Physician Consult Reveals Surgery is Necessary
If an MRI or consult with your primary care physician shows your neck pain needs surgical treatment, it’s important to reach out to a neurosurgeon promptly. Your physician may offer recommendations on who to contact, but keep in mind it’s always important to get the opinion of a board-certified neurosurgeon. A second opinion can also help you explore all your options for the most effective and safe surgery.
There are a wide variety of conditions that may cause neck pain with different symptoms, treatments, and recovery times, making it difficult to understand when you should speak with a neurosurgeon.
If you’re experiencing any of the four examples above, it’s likely time to consult with a board-certified neurosurgeon.
To consult with a neurosurgeon about your neck pain, see how the experienced, board-certified neurosurgeons at Hudson Valley Brain & Spine Surgerycan offer you an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan.