When Should You See a Doctor About Neck Pain?

should-see-doctor-neck-pain Credit: Shelby Ross/The Image Bank/Getty Images

See a doctor for neck pain if pain radiates down the arm or leg, there is loss of bowel or bladder control, neck pain worsens even with self-care, or neck pain persists for several weeks, states Mayo Clinic. If pain occurs following injury, with fever or with weakness, seek immediate attention.

Neck pain caused by muscle tension or strain can often be treated at home, according to Mayo Clinic. Common pain-relieving therapies include massage, applying ice or heat, stretching and having good posture. For ice therapy, apply a bag of frozen peas or an ice pack three times per day, for 15 minute intervals. A hot shower or bath may also help relax tense or strained muscles. Keep the back supported throughout the day, and be sure the computer is at eye level.

Neck pain is often a result of common activities such as carrying a heavy purse or backpack on one shoulder, cradling the phone between the head and shoulder, or emotional stress. Poor posture and sleeping with too many pillows may also cause neck pain. More serious causes can include a herniated disc, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis. Meningitis, whiplash, TMJ disorders and cervical dystonia are other fairly common causes of neck pain.