Should You See a Neurologist for Back Pain and Neck Pain?

People manage chronic back and neck pain in different ways. Some try stretching or alternating heat and cold at the source of the discomfort. Others turn to over-the-counter pain medicine and a stoic demeanor. Acute pain often goes away without medical treatment, but don’t ignore chronic and persistent pain that lasts for weeks, months, or years. Weakness, numbness, tingling or pain radiating into an arm or leg are important symptoms that need evaluation by a physician. Talk to your doctor to determine the cause of the problem. Your primary care physician may refer you to a specialist, such as a neurologist, to help determine the cause of your back pain.

Roughly 80% of adults experience low back pain, but many different things can cause pain in your neck and back. Your PCP can help determine if you should see a neurologist to help determine the cause of back pain and neck pain. Click To Tweet

It’s difficult to know what’s causing your pain

Sometimes pain in the back or the neck is acute. It often results from an injury; maybe you moved heavy furniture without warming up your muscles, you made a sudden movement working in the yard, or you’re ill. Acute pain typically goes away on its own without treatment after a few days or weeks.

However, chronic pain lingers and persists for more than 12 weeks. It can be constant or it can come and go, but it typically requires some type of treatment.

Several things can cause back pain and neck pain:

  • sedentary living
  • injury
  • posture
  • infection
  • joint problems
  • smoking
  • misaligned vertebrae
  • obesity
  • growths
  • degeneration of vertebrae
  • overuse
  • kidney stones
  • illnesses

It’s important to see a medical professional because there are so many possible causes for your pain. A neurologist can help diagnose the source of your back pain, and recommend the best treatment approach, which may involve physical therapy, seeing a pain specialist, or consulting with a surgeon. 

Should you see a neurologist for back and neck pain?

People often think of a chiropractic doctor for chronic pain, but neurologists also diagnose and treat back pain and neck pain. Neurologists specialize in conditions and diseases that affect the brain, the spinal cord, and the nervous system; this often includes chronic pain in the back and neck.

Talk to your primary care provider if you experience chronic back pain or neck pain. Your doctor can help you determine if you should see a specialist, such as a neurologist, for your symptoms. Some health insurance plans require a referral from your primary care physician. Contact Fayetteville Diagnostic Clinic to schedule an appointment with our board-certified neurologists in Northwest Arkansas.