If you have been struggling with neck pain, whether chronic or acute, it can be concerning. You may wonder about the cause and whether it's something you need to address with your doctor. The truth is that neck pain should be taken seriously. Here's a look at what you need to know about neck pain and what you should do about it.

Signs That You Need to See a Doctor

Sometimes neck pain is the result of an injury or a muscle strain. If it's just a minor injury, you can often just let it recover on its own. However, there are some instances where you need to seek a doctor's help to rule out more serious concerns. For example, if you were recently in a car accident, your neck pain may be a result of whiplash. You'll want to be assessed by a doctor to ensure that it's just soft tissue damage, but if it is, it should heal on its own.

If you experience neck pain paired with difficulties moving your neck, muscle spasms and tightening, pain moving your neck in certain directions, or persistent headaches, it's important to see your doctor right away.

Understanding the Potential Problems

Your neck is a particularly vulnerable area. The cervical vertebrae play a critical role in your body's structure and stability, and any kind of damage can be concerning. You need to fully understand the things that you should be aware of to truly appreciate why you need to see a doctor for this type of pain. For example, sudden persistent neck pain with muscle stiffness can often be an indication of meningitis infection. If you don't address this right away, it can progress and potentially be fatal within hours of symptoms starting. 

You may also have some problems with nerve damage in your neck. If this is the case, you'll need to work with a neurologist who can isolate the problem and potentially refer you for neurosurgery when necessary. You must understand the root of the problem and the best treatment methods to ensure that you seek surgery when it is needed for your recovery.

These are some of the key things that you need to know about dealing with neck pain, both chronic and acute. The more you understand, the easier it is to see why you need to take this seriously. Reach out to your doctor today for more information.