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Choosing a Doctor Who Treats Neck and Back Pain. Everything You Need to Know

Chronic neck and back pain can be frustrating and significantly reduce your quality of life. If you’re having trouble finding relief, it may be time to visit a doctor who specializes in treating neck and back pain. However, not all doctors are adequately qualified to treat neck and back pain, meaning knowing how to choose the right doctor for you is essential.

Making this decision requires a few considerations on your behalf. If you’re unsure about choosing a doctor who treats neck and back pain, don’t worry–this article will explain everything you should know about treating your pain and choosing a doctor to address your neck and back pain quickly.

What Causes Neck and Back Pain?

There are many underlying causes of neck and back pain, ranging from everyday occurrences to severe accidents. Below are some of the many potential causes of your current neck and back pain to consider if you’re unsure of where your pain is originating from:

  • Poor posture: Slouching, hunching over, and other poor posture habits can lead to neck and back pain.
  • Twisting or lifting: Twisting your body while lifting a heavy object or performing other strenuous activities can strain your neck and back.
  • Injury: Car accidents, sports injuries, falls, and other types of trauma can cause neck and back pain.
  • Degenerative disc disease: This condition occurs when the discs in the spine begin to wear, narrowing the spine and causing neck and back pain.
  • Osteoarthritis: This condition happens when the cartilage between the vertebrae begins to wear away, which can cause pain and stiffness in the neck and back.
  • Stress: Stress can cause the muscles in the neck and back to become tense, leading to pain and discomfort.
  • Medical conditions: Conditions including fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis can cause neck and back pain.

Addressing and Managing Arthritis Pain: Treatment, Medications, and More

Depending on the level of pain you are experiencing, your doctor may recommend different treatment options suitable for your condition. Below are some potential options to consider when suffering from severe neck and back pain.


When it comes to treating arthritis, neck, and back pain, medications can be a helpful tool. Depending on the severity of the pain, your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter or prescription medications. Pain medications, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen, can reduce inflammation and help with pain relief. However, many seemingly unconventional medication options could potentially treat your neck and back pain you may not have thought about before. Below are some other types of medications that specialists sometimes use to treat neck and back pain:

Man taking pain medications out of the bottle for his back pain
  • Antidepressants: Low doses of some antidepressants can help people fight intense neck and low back pain. Antidepressants can change the levels of the chemical in your brain that notices pain.
  • Anticonvulsant medicines: Another type of medication that could potentially treat your neck and back pain is anticonvulsants, typically used to help patients dealing with seizures or epilepsy. An anticonvulsant medicine enacts changes in your brain’s electric signals and helps treat individuals whose pain is caused by nerve damage.
  • Muscle relaxants: This medication is sometimes used to treat neck and back pain patients and works through your brain and spinal cord to relieve your symptoms.
  • Opioids/Narcotics: For more severe cases, doctors may prescribe opioids or narcotics to alleviate your pain. A qualified neck and back pain specialist can guide you through safely taking these medications and following the CDC’s guidelines to tailor a plan for relieving your pain.

At-Home Physical Therapy Exercises

In addition to medications, physical therapy exercises can help reduce neck and back pain. Stretching exercises are a great way to reduce tightness and pain in your muscles and joints. If your pain isn’t too severe and your doctor approves light at-home exercises, below are a few simple ways to alleviate some of your neck and back pain.

  • Neck Stretches: These stretches can help to increase flexibility and reduce stiffness in the neck muscles, helping to alleviate pain. To do a neck stretch, start by sitting in a comfortable position. Then, gently tilt your head to one side and hold the position for 10-15 seconds. Afterward, slowly tilt your neck to the other side and hold for 10-15 seconds. Do this for several repetitions.
  • Foam Rolling: Start lying on your back with a foam roller placed under your shoulders to do this exercise. Then, slowly roll up and down your spine, pausing to focus on particularly tight areas. Do this for several minutes, focusing on areas of tightness or pain.
  • Core Strengthening: To do a core strengthening exercise, lie on your back while keeping your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then, slowly lift your head and shoulders off the ground and hold for five seconds. Afterward, slowly lower your head and shoulders back to the ground and repeat the exercise for several repetitions.

Epidural Steroid Injections

A qualified and trained neck and back pain doctor may recommend scheduling an appointment for a minimally invasive epidural steroid injection (ESI) procedure. ESIs have a history of being used as a non-surgical method to treat lower back and neck pain. During this procedure, the individual receives an injection of corticosteroids or anesthetic into the epidural space in the back.

Everyday Preventative Measures

Depending on the severity and cause of your pain, you can alleviate some of your discomforts with simple preventative measures to lessen or eliminate the pain. For instance, below are a few ideas to ease up and give your neck and back a well-earned break.

  • Improve your posture: Make sure you’re sitting and standing up straight.
  • Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help strengthen the muscles in the neck and back and improve posture.
  • Use proper lifting techniques: Lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Get enough sleep: Make sure you’re getting enough restful sleep every night.
  • Take breaks: If you’re sitting or standing for long periods, take breaks to stretch and move around.

Seeking a Pain Management Doctor

A pain management doctor is the best option to address severe and chronic neck and back pain. However, finding a doctor you can trust to treat your pain is essential before scheduling your first appointment. Choosing a doctor to help you manage your pain can seem daunting, but there are a few ways to ensure that you choose the right specialist for your situation, such as the tips below.

1. Identify Your Symptoms

The first step in choosing a doctor is to identify your symptoms. It’s important to note the type of pain you’re experiencing as well as any other symptoms you may be experiencing. This will help you find a doctor who is best suited to treat your specific type of neck and back pain.

2. Research Your Options

Once you’ve identified your symptoms, it’s time to research your options. Start by asking your primary care physician for recommendations. They may be able to direct you to a specialist in your area who is experienced in treating neck and back pain. Additionally, you can search for doctors online and read reviews from other patients to get a better idea of the quality of care they provide.

3. Look at Reviews and Get Referrals

Always read reviews from other patients who have seen the doctor and find out what treatments the doctor typically recommends. It’s also a good idea to ask friends and family for their recommendations.

Referrals from other patients who have seen the doctor will provide you with valuable information about the quality of care they provide. Additionally, it will give you an opportunity to get a better feel for the doctor’s personality and style.

4. Schedule a Consultation

Once you’ve found a few doctors that meet your criteria, it’s time to schedule a consultation. During this session, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss your condition with the pain specialist. The doctor will also be able to provide you with a treatment plan and physical therapy recommendations.

During the consultation, make sure to explain your symptoms and ask the specialist about their experience as a neck and back pain doctor. By getting to know the specialist, you can make a confident decision about whether they are the best fit for you.

Get the Treatment You Need at Lone Star Spine and Pain Institute

While many people think they can rely solely on over-the-counter pain medication and at-home exercises to relieve their neck and back pain, additional care and advice are sometimes needed. Our doctors can help address your current pain and help you continue to rehab and therapy solutions.

Dr. Rahul Sarna

Double Board Certified in Pain Management and Anesthesiology

Dr. Hisham Khan

Double Board Certified in Pain Management and Anesthesiology

Dr. Derrick Wansom

Double Board Certified in Pain Management and Anesthesiology

Individuals in or near San Marcos or New Braunfels, Texas, suffering from neck and back pain can look no further than the experienced, double board-certified physicians at Lone Star Spine and Pain Institute. Our expert team will help you find relief from your neck and back pain through our dedication to high-quality care.Whether you’re looking for a San Marcos pain specialist or a New Braunfels pain doctor, we can provide the care you need. Make an appointment with the Lone Star Spine and Pain Institute experts today and start your journey to a pain-free life.

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