Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
While you may initially consult your family doctor about your neck pain, he or she may refer you to:
- A rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in arthritis and other diseases that affect the joints
- A neurologist, a doctor who specializes in treating nerve-related disorders
- An orthopedic surgeon, a doctor who operates on bones and joints
What you can do
Before your appointment, you may want to write a list that answers the following questions:
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Have you ever injured your neck? If so, when did the injury occur?
- Do any particular neck movements make the pain improve or worsen?
- What medications and supplements do you take regularly?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor may ask some of the following questions:
- Where exactly does your pain occur?
- Is the pain dull, sharp or shooting?
- Do you have any numbness or weakness?
- Does the pain radiate into your arm?
- Firestein GS, et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2009. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1807/0.html. Accessed July 6, 2012.
- Isaac Z, et al. Evaluation of the patient with neck pain and cervical spine disorders. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed July 6, 2012.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed July 6, 2012.
- Anderson BC, et al. Treatment of neck pain. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed July 6, 2012.
- Frontera WR, et al. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1678/0.html. Accessed July 6, 2012.
- Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-2/0/1494/0.html. Accessed July 6, 2012.
- What a pain in the neck! American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. http://www.aapmr.org/patients/conditions/msk/spine/Pages/Prevent-Neck-Pain.aspx. Accessed July 6, 2012.