Neck and Back Pain: When to Seek Treatment

May 12, 2022 | Blog

If you’re living with back or neck pain, you’re not alone. In fact, orthopaedic doctors see patients every day who are struggling with these issues. But too often, we shrug off the pain as a fact of life. We think it’s something we just have to deal with. And while that may be true for some people, there are others who need help from an orthopaedic specialist.

Common Causes of Neck Pain Include:


Poor posture. This is often the cause of neck pain in people who work desk jobs. If you’re hunched over your computer all day, your neck muscles can become strained.

Sleeping position. If you sleep with your neck in an unnatural position, it can lead to neck pain. Try to sleep on your back or side to avoid twisting and straining your neck. If you can, invest in a pillow that is supportive of your spine’s alignment.

Whiplash. This is a common neck injury that occurs after a car accident or other type of impact. The sudden force can damage the neck muscles and ligaments, leading to pain.

Degenerative Disc Disease. This is a condition where the discs in your neck begin to deteriorate. This can cause neck pain, as well as stiffness and limited range of motion.

Arthritis. This is a common cause of neck pain in older adults. Arthritis can cause inflammation and pain in the neck joints, which can make movement difficult and uncomfortable.

Common Causes of Back Pain:

Poor posture: This is one of the most common causes of back pain, especially if you sit for long periods of time. Slouching can cause a number of issues including lower back pain. 

Muscle strain: This can happen from overuse or incorrect use of muscles. If you lift something heavy or twist awkwardly, you may strain a muscle in your back.

Bulging or herniated discs: These occur when the cushions between your vertebrae rupture or bulge out. This can be extremely painful and may require surgery to fix.

Osteoporosis: This is a condition that causes your bones to become weak and brittle. If you have osteoporosis, you may be more likely to suffer from back pain.


Schedule a visit with a physician if:

Your quality of life is impacted.

Everyday tasks can become harder to perform because of debilitating pain. Neck and back pain can both have a significant impact on your quality of life. Neck pain can cause headaches, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. Back pain can interfere with your sleep quality, cause stiffness, and interrupt mobility. If you are experiencing either of these types of pain on a daily basis, it is important to talk to an orthopaedic physician about treatment options. There are many effective treatments available that can help improve your quality of life.

It keeps you up at night.

If you’re noticing neck or back pain that is keeping you up at night or seems to be getting worse when you rest, it’s important to get it checked out by a doctor. This is especially true if the pain is accompanied by a fever. While neck and back pain itself is not usually life-threatening, it can be a symptom of other serious health problems. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for ensuring the best possible outcome as the pain can become debilitating the longer it’s left untreated.

It persists and gets worse.

Chronic pain can significantly interfere with a person’s quality of life. It can make it difficult to work, exercise, and enjoy hobbies and social activities. Chronic pain can also lead to sleep problems and cause depression and anxiety. There are many treatments available that can help lessen your pain and improve your quality of life. These treatments can range from simple lifestyle changes to surgery, so it’s very important to get a proper diagnosis in order to get the best treatment possible.

You’ve tried everything.

You’ve been dealing with neck pain for a while now and you’re starting to get frustrated. You’ve tried over-the-counter medications and they’re not helping. Your back pain is still occurring even after giving your best efforts.

It’s important to have a physician take a look at your condition in order to properly diagnose and create a treatment plan.

You’re experiencing numbness or tingling.

If you’re starting to experience numbness or tingling in your neck, arms, or legs, it’s important to see a doctor right away. This could be a sign of a serious condition like a pinched nerve or spinal cord compression. 

With these conditions, early diagnosis and treatment are essential in order to avoid permanent damage.

“How do I avoid neck and back pain?”

If you work at an office, for example, investing in an ergonomic workstation, such as a standing desk or a supportive chair can influence good posture. Other preventative measures that you can take include:

  • Take breaks often to move your neck and shoulders around.
  • Exercising regularly to strengthen your neck and back muscles.
  • Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes.
  • Sleeping on a supportive mattress and pillow.

Putting off treatment can only make the problem worse, and it’s not worth suffering needlessly. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment at Nebraska Orthopaedic Center to see an Back & Spine Specialist to find relief. With the right diagnosis and treatment plan, you can get back to your life pain-free.