When to See a Doctor for Neck Pain

Temporary aches and pains are surprisingly common, even in the fittest of individuals. From sleeping in an uncomfortable posture to walking with your head down for too often, there are many situations that can cause mild and moderate neck pain that will simply go away with a good night’s sleep or a few very simple behavioral changes.

But not all neck pain is minor, and not all neck pain can be cured with a few small changes to the way you sit or stand. There may be a time when your neck pain is a signal that it’s time to see a doctor, and that you may need some medical treatment or intervention to help rid yourself of that pain.

When Neck Pain is an Emergency

Some forms of neck pain need more than a doctor, and may be a sign of a medical emergency. If you have any of the following symptoms in addition to neck pain, you may need to call 9-1-1:

  • Chest Pains
  • Vomiting/Nausea
  • Trouble Breathing
  • Inability to Move Part of Your Body
  • Loss of Control of Bowels/Bladder

These symptoms may be a sign of something more serious, such as a heart attack or spinal injury. If you have difficulty walking, numbness or tingling in the arms or extremities, or pain that gets progressively worse to the point of feeling “severe,” you may want to head to the hospital for care.

When Neck Pain is a Sign of Something More

Neck pain may also be sign of other medical conditions, and while they may not warrant am ambulance ride to the hospital, they may be a sign that you could benefit from additional medical care.

The most common sign is simply chronic neck pain – neck pain that won’t go away on its own. All chronic neck pain deserves a visit to a doctor or spinal specialist, because it could be a sign of:

  • Herniated Discs
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Whiplash (After an Accident)
  • Spinal Stenosis

Neck pain due to something less serious is generally fairly mild to moderate, feels more like a muscle ache, and goes away in a few days or after a Tylenol. Neck pain due to one of the above conditions is more constant, tends to get worse over time, and requires constant pain medications or is followed by trouble moving your neck.

Seeking Out Help

It is always better to be safe. If something feels “off” with your neck pain, it helps to get medical attention, especially if it is accompanied by trouble moving, more severe pain, or any other worrisome symptoms. If the pain is mild, isn’t disrupting your life, and tends to come and go, try fixing your posture, stretching, drinking more water (to nourish your muscles) and see if that helps. Then see a doctor if it doesn’t go away.

If you’re concerned about your neck pain or simply interested in the wide range of services that SpineCenterAtlanta has to offer, contact us today at  404-341-4731.

Stretching Tips to Avoid Back Pain After Working Out

Stretching for Back Pain

The idea that you should stretch before working out is a myth. Known as “static stretching,” this type of exercise has not been shown to prevent injury, and can actually reduce the benefits you receive from working out by tiring the muscles before you’ve had a chance to use them.

However, stretching itself is considered highly beneficial. Stretching can improve flexibility, increase strength, and can play a role in reducing muscle soreness after exercise. You simply have to stretch after exercise, not before it.

The Value of Stretching to Avoid Back Pain

Any time you play sports or go to the gym you are putting pressure on your muscles. For those prone to back pain, exercise can cause both aching and sharp pain in your upper and lower back because of that pressure, which wears out muscles and can damage the spine. Back Pain Prevention

But stretching can help reduce back pain, especially if you stretch right after a workout. That is because stretching has many potential benefits for your back and muscles, including:

  • Resetting Muscles – When you exercise, you’re contracting your muscles and “ripping” them in a way that will heal into larger and stronger muscles in the future. But right after a workout, your muscles are often left in a tight, shortened state. Stretching the muscles brings them back to their natural position, which allows them to move freely with less discomfort.
  • Improving Circulation – Stretching after exercise may help improve circulation to your muscles and tissues, which may speed up recovery and healing while also relaxing the muscles.
  • Mindfulness of Pain – It’s not uncommon to make “accidental adjustments” to the way you sit, stand, or walk because of muscle discomfort or tight muscles. But these added adjustments can put extra pressure on your muscles and spine, increasing pain in the future. Stretching helps you notice and become more mindful of where your pain points are, and try to relax them/reset them so that your posture is not affected.

These are only some of the many benefits that stretching has on your back muscles, spine, posture, and more. Stretching after a workout is a great way to keep your body flexible, healing, and free of significant back discomfort, and should be added to any workout you undertake. If you’re interested in learning more, call SpineCenterAtlanta at 404-341-4731, today.

How to Avoid Holiday Back Pain


Holiday Back Pain

It’s the holiday season, known for its bright lights, presents, family time, and celebration. But here at SpineCenterAtlanta, it’s also known for its surprisingly high spike in back pain. Holiday back pain is a common challenge that affects thousands of Atlantans every year. For those that already struggle with back pain, make sure you take precautions so that your holiday isn’t ruined by holiday back discomfort.

Why is the Holidays Prone to Back Pain?

There are many different reasons that the holidays are prone to back pain. Some of them are even for “fun” reasons, but back pain doesn’t necessarily care that you’re having a good time. The most common causes of holiday back pain include: Back Pain from Traveling

  • Traveling – Sitting on a plane or in a car can put a lot of pressure on the back.
  • Lifting – Lifting heavy presents or moving furniture for guests can create back pain.
  • Hanging Decorations – Decorating a home often means contorting the lower back.
  • Stress – Holidays can be stressful, from planning to family to finances.
  • Lounging – For those that are able to relax, lounging too often can also cause aches.

These are only some of the many different changes that take place over the holidays, all of which can contribute to unexpected or more severe back pain.

Tips to Avoid Back Pain This Holiday Season

  • Know Your Limits – If you haven’t been able to lift heavy items or stretch to the ceiling in several years, it may not be time to start now. Be gentle and careful when you lift gifts, hang up items, or perform other activities and avoid doing anything your body is not ready for.
  • Rest Often – When some degree of work is unavoidable (such as cleaning the house for guests), make sure you do not do it all at once. Let yourself rest every once in a while and recover. If you still have your strength and energy, you will be less likely to overwork your muscles.
  • Eat Well and Drink Water – Vitamins and hydration are always important for combatting back pain, and yet during the holidays it’s not uncommon to eat only fattening family foods while drinking only a few eggnogs and champagne.
  • Relax (with Walking) – The holidays can be stressful. Make sure you take some time for yourself to relax and relieve some of that stress and tension. If you are okay braving the colder air, try taking some relaxing walks so that you’re not also lounging too frequently.
  • Prioritize You – Much of the holiday time is spent catering to other people. From buying expensive gifts that cause you financial stress to trying to make the house look good for guests. But you’ll struggle to enjoy the fruits of that labor if you’re not prioritizing yourself. If you need to spend less, move less, stretch, or even take time away from everyone to relax, it is worth it to prevent your back discomfort.

Avoid Holiday Back Pain

The holiday season is meant to be something for you and your family to enjoy. But few can enjoy it when struggling with back pain. This year, try to avoid engaging in back pain causing activities, and have a great holiday from us here at Spine Center Atlanta.