Signs That You Should See A Neurologist For Your Headaches
As a general rule, for nonsevere headaches, your family doctor is a great person to start with. Approximately two out of three people talk to their primary care doctor first, according to the American Headache Society.
If the recommended treatments are not working well or you have unusual symptoms, your doctor may refer you to a neurologist, who specializes in disorders of the brain and nervous system.
Possible signs that you may need to see a specialist for your headaches include:
Neck Pain Emergency See Your Doctor Now
Typically, neck pain is not an emergency or something that requires a immediate medical attention.
Most cases of having a stiff neck in the morning or postural pain from using a computer usually respond to simple strategies like getting a cervical pillow or using ergonomic or postural modifications. Minor injuries usually respond to some ice, then heat. Chronic neck pain is more complicated, but often responds to exercises.
It is reasonable to try some of these home remedies at first. With a lack of response, it is often advisable to seek medical attention by going to your medical or chiropractic doctor. Usually, tests are done and therapy is instituted, whether it is in office treatments like adjustments or physical therapy and/or medications, injections and possibly surgery.
If neck pain is present with the following symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Pain That Keeps You Up At Night
Back pain that keeps you up at night, or gets worse when you rest, is generally not life-threatening. That said, it’s best to get it checked, especially when accompanied by fever.
Back or neck pain with fever may be a sign of an infection such as meningitis. Infections can get serious, fast, so don’t delay that call to your doctor prompt diagnosis and treatment may save your life.
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Shoulder And Neck Referred Pain
Because of the close connection of the nerves serving them, shoulder and neck pain are often mistaken for one another.
You may feel a pain in the shoulder thats actually coming from your neck, and vice versa. This is called referred pain.
Some of the symptoms of referred pain from your neck include:
- stabbing, burning, or electric-like tingling pain
- pain that radiates to your shoulder blade, elbow, and hand
- pain that radiates down your arm when you twist your neck
- pain thats relieved when you support your neck
Who To See For Neck Pain
If your neck pain comes with any of the emergency symptoms listed above, seek care at an emergency room right away. If you do not have any emergency symptoms, schedule a visit with your primary care physician, an orthopedist, or a neurologist. An orthopedist is a doctor who specializes in musculoskeletal conditions, including those that affect the spine. A is a doctor who specializes in . In some cases, they may work together.
See your primary care physician if:
You do not have any other symptoms aside from neck pain.
You do not remember a specific event that triggered the pain. For example, you just woke up one day and it was there.
Your insurance requires you to see your primary care physician for a referral to a specialist.
See an orthopedist if:
You feel or hear grinding, crunching or popping in your neck bones.
Applying heat or ice provides temporary relief, but the pain keeps coming back.
You remember a specific event when the pain started, such as stepping off a curb, lifting something, or bending over.
See a neurologist if:
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Dr K Daniel Riew On Technology
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You see it everywhere. In homes and offices, while walking down the street, riding the bus, or standing in line. Tech neck, the act of stressing muscles while using phones, tablets, and computers, resulting in neck and shoulder pain, stiffness, and soreness, is a problem thats getting worse.
Last year, Americans spent a daily average of 5 hours and 53 minutes with digital media, including 3 hours, 17 minutes a day on non-voice activities on mobile devices a jump of more than an hour since 2013, according to eMarketer.
The result? Headaches, neck spasms, and creaky shoulder joints, caused by holding ones neck still for long periods, says K. Daniel Riew, M.D., director of cervical spine surgery and co-director of spine surgery in the department of orthopedic surgery at the NewYork-Presbyterian Och Spine Hospital. Here, Dr. Riew breaks down the causes and symptoms of tech neck and offers ways to correctly and safely align the body while using mobile phones, computers, and other digital media devices.
So how should you sit? A better way to sit is with the chair reclining 25-30 degrees with a good lumbar support to prevent slouching. In this position, the discs in the back, as well as the neck, are subjected to much lower forces than in an upright position, and the muscles in the back of the neck no longer have to contract to hold your head up.
Dr. K. Daniel Riew
Get The Answers You Need
Headaches, neck pain, back pain, sleep disorders, and multiple sclerosis. As the founder and a top neurologist at a major neurology center, I have seen a lot of tough cases of each of these conditions. Theyre complex and disruptive to your quality of life. But, what most dont realize is that they can all be connected. In this guide, I dissect each of these neurological conditions and show you how the symptoms youre experiencing may all be related.
I have created free online video series to help you better understand your symptoms and disorder and take back control of your life.
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Many Surgeons Have An Inherent Lean Toward Surgery
Surgeons will order diagnostic tests like MRIs and x-rays, just like a general or family doctor can. The difference is that surgeons cant help seeing every patient through the lens of their most powerful tool: Can surgery help this patient? Looking at a problem through these lens causes them to overlook other, nonsurgical treatments. Thus, even the best surgeons may recommend an unnecessary surgery.
Headaches Stemming From Spinal Pain
When a headache is caused by a problem in the neck or cervical spine area, it is known as a cervicogenic headache. This type of headache can be a debilitating medical condition that seriously impacts your quality of life.
Cervicogenic headaches are a type of secondary headache that arise due to problems with the bones, nerves, or soft tissues of the neck . These headaches can be caused by trauma to the head and neck or osteoarthritis of the cervical spine joints.
The treatment for this type of headache differs greatly from the treatment for migraine and tension-type headaches, making accurate diagnosis essential for achieving pain relief.
If you suspect your neck may be the source of your headaches, National Spine & Pain Centers Doctors have the expertise to diagnose your condition and offer proper treatment, returning you to an active lifestyle.
Contact National Spine & Pain Centers toschedule an appointment with an affiliated pain specialist for Cervicogenic Headaches treatment today.
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Common Spine Issues Associated With Neck Pain
When these self-treatments dont provide you with any relief or if you have sustained a significant neck injury, make an appointment with your doctor. There may be a more serious underlying issue that can only be treated by an orthopedic specialist. Common injuries or conditions normally associated with neck pain include:
Common Causes Of Neck Pain And How Chiropractors Help
Neck pain can be caused by a variety of different things. For many people, poor posture and prolonged used of electronic devices are top contributors. If you spend hours each day working at a desk, not having the right ergonomic equipment, and constantly craning your neck to accommodate an insufficient screen height may be placing undue stress on your neck. If you use your mobile phone for hours at a time, tipping your head forward to view the screen could be the cause of your issue. In instances such as these, taking pain medications and relaxing for a few days might relieve your immediate discomfort. However, as soon as you resume your former habits, your neck pain will recur.
When you work with a chiropractor, all of your life habits will be carefully assessed. Chiropractors can make needs-specific recommendations for ergonomic equipment and screen heights, and they can also suggest special exercises and stretches for postural correction. Changing how you do things can have a tremendous impact on how your neck, back, and even your shoulders feel and function. More often than not, making simple lifestyle adjustments is enough to correct this issue.
While waiting for the effects of lifestyle adjustments to manifest, chiropractic patients can also take advantage of natural pain-relieving therapies such as:
- Therapeutic massage
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Informed Choice Can Help You Choose A Trustworthy Provider
There are as many choices as there are colors in the rainbow. There are a number of distinct physicians within the medical world that you have a choice from. Internists, family physicians, orthopaedists, neurosurgeons, spine surgeons, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, neurologists, anesthesiologists, and even some psychiatrists that treat lower back disorders. There are places that have multiple specialists who treat these disorders as a group.
There are a number of distinct physicians within the medical world that you have a choice from. Photo Source: 123RF.com.There are many types of nonmedical practitioners to choose from, and they vary greatly even within their own specialty. You can go to a chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist, athletic trainer, acupuncturist, Feldenkrais or Pilates practitioner, personal trainer, or even an aroma therapist.
Are Specialists Required For Neck Pain
If your neck pain manifests with the symptoms listed above, then any emergency medicine doctor on call will be competent enough to provide emergency and primary care. However, in case you are suffering from chronic neck pain and symptoms and other pre-existing conditions, then visiting a specialist would be recommended, and they can directly target the problem and come up with a comprehensive treatment plan to help your symptoms. Usually, an orthopedist or neurologist can help either with muscular-skeletal issues underlying your neck pain, or neurological issues surrounding your neck pain.
Visit an orthopedic if:
- Theres a grinding, crunching, popping in the bones near the neck
- Preliminary therapeutic treatments are not providing any help
- X-rays indicate a bone spur or abnormal growth
- You have a herniated or bulging disk
Visit a neurologist if:
- If you have cases of brain fog and fatigue
- If you feel a tingling sensation
- If you feel numbness in your hands and legs
- If you suffer from incontinence
- If you have radiating and shooting pains
Phyt Health is Indias first digital physiotherapy platform using 3D Imaging and Artificial Intelligence to accurately capture your movements and recommend relevant treatment plans. On the physiotherapy app, you will find a wealth of exercises that are curated by expert physiotherapists that you can perform in the comfort of your own home.
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Posture And Sleeping Position
Holding your neck in an awkward position for a prolonged time can lead to strains in the muscles and tendons of your neck and shoulders.
Some of the postures and activities that commonly contribute to neck and shoulder pain are:
- sleeping on too high a pillow or a stack of pillows
- grinding or clenching your teeth at night
- sitting at a computer or over a phone with your neck strained forward or tilted up
- suddenly jerking your neck during exercise
Your Office Setup May Be To Blame
A major injury like a fall or accident isnt the only trigger for these headaches. If your desk or office chair causes you to slouch or strain, you could get a cervicogenic headache.
When you sit at a desk too long, you may have your neck flexed down, Dr. Estemalik says. You might arch your back while youre sitting. This can bring on a cervicogenic headache.
Look into proper ergonomics for your office if you sit at a desk. Focus on keeping your back and neck straight while you sit, says Dr. Estemalik. Make sure youre not bending forward.
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Get Rid Of Your Old Pillow Or Mattress
Sleep should be a time for your body to rest and recharge. So be choosy about your sleeping equipment.
Finding the right mattress and pillow can be key to preventing a cervicogenic headache, Dr. Estemalik says. Do you wake up with neck pain or a headache? That could be a clue that you need to switch your pillow or mattress.
Find a pillow that keeps your neck in line with your back. The exact pillow type varies from person to person based on your sleeping position and body type. And follow Goldilocks advice about your bed: Not too hard or too soft. Replace old mattresses and pillows, since they lose their support after years of use.
When To See A Doctor About Your Back And Neck Pain
How many of us are living with back and neck pain? Perhaps your upper back hurts after every long day at work. Maybe you wake up most mornings with a stiff neck. Or your pain shows up randomly and severely. Each persons spine is unique to their body and their daily routine. But too many of us shrug off the pain as a fact of life.
How can you know if your back or neck pain is severe enough to schedule a visit with your physician?
We spoke with Venkat Ganapathy, MD, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery at Banner University Medicine Orthopedics Clinic in Tucson, AZ. He remarked that your bad back isnt something you should just have to live with. Putting off treatment could be a sign of something serious or lead to more severe issues down the road. He outlined a list of common symptoms, breaking them down into categories of severity.
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When To Worry About Neck Pain With A Headache
Usually, theres nothing to worry but at times when you notice these conditions immediately consult your doctor.
- Having shoulder and neck pain with headache or pain that extends to the lower back.
- The presence of the condition for more than 2 weeks.
- When the condition is due to the result of an injury.
- Eye pain is a combination of headache and neck pain.
- Slurred speech and blur vision.
A Headache Neurologist May Not Always Recommend Medications
A headache neurologist can help differentiate a tension-type headache from a migraine, and from all the other types of head pain that will not respond to the types of headache medications frequently used by non-headache specialists in a one-size-fits-all fashion to treat headache. And as you have seen from the video above, a headache neurologist can suggest a comprehensive approach of both medication and non-medication therapies, as appropriate.
Migraine, sinus headaches, tension type headaches, rebound, cervicogenic, cluster, and autonomic cephalalgias require a headache neurologist. Sleep and sleep position is important in triggering headaches, and only a multidisciplinary headache center, with an accredited sleep disorders center, PT, and Imaging on site is likely to be able to take care of worsening or complicated headache syndromes.
A headache neurologist will take a medical history and perform a detailed neurological examination, something a family doctor and non specialist cannot do. And a headache neurologist may want to rule out underlying medical problems that might be causing or complicating the headache. Frequently, brain, carotid or vertebral artery, or neck imaging is abnormal and crucial in the treatment of patients with worsening headache, and points to the underlying root cause.
For more about headaches, go to www.DoctorRowe.com
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What Doctor To See For Neck Pain
Even simple activities like driving and getting dressed can be a struggle when dealing with neck pain. If this discomfort persists or if it increases in intensity, you may need to schedule an appointment with the doctor. But which doctor should you see? Although your general practitioner can certainly prescribe pain relieving medications, a chiropractic doctor can actually determine the cause of your neck pain, and resolve it.
Chiropractors encourage movement for combating soreness. They also take a more targeted and needs-specific approach to resolving the musculoskeletal issues that lead to joint pain, joint dysfunction, and joint stiffness. By working with a chiropractor, its possible to get fast-acting and all-natural relief. Its also possible to prevent your neck pain from recurring.
Most minor problems at the neck will gradually self-resolve. Even when people have whiplash, conventional doctors usually recommend bed rest, and they frequently offer prescription-strength pain relievers. Together, these strategies reduce inflammation and swelling, and they give the affected structures the opportunity to recover. While conventional doctors and chiropractors share the same goal of promoting wellness, chiropractors take a very different approach.
The therapies and other services that chiropractors offer are aimed at expediting natural healing. They use techniques for:
When To Seek Emergency Care For A Headache
- Your headache is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, loss of consciousness, or blurry vision.
- Your headache is accompanied by weakness or loss of control of part of your body, speech, or vision. This could signal a stroke.
- Your headache is sudden and severe and is accompanied by a stiff neck or fever. This could be meningitis, an inflammation of the brain usually caused by a viral infection.
- Your headache is the worst headache of your life. The abrupt onset of a very severe headache could mean bleeding or a clot in the brain, according to the American Migraine Foundation.
Additional reporting by Becky Upham.
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