Will Neck Pain Go Away on Its Own?

Out of the blues, neck pain can be unnerving. When you experience pain in your neck, it is natural to wish it away. Sometimes neck pain has minor causatives and is remedied with stretches and rest. Usually, for such mild neck pain, it clears up within a few days. Other times, the pain lingers for weeks or months. In such cases, it is imperative to seek treatment. Seeing a neck pain Northern Virginia specialist is essential, whether the pain is minor or severe. Mild neck pain can also morph into chronic pain over time.

Here’s how to know if you’ll need a doctor or not.

When is Neck Pain Serious?

Admittedly, going to a pain specialist for mild neck pain seems regressive and costly. But sometimes, the minor pain may progress into chronic pain that necessitates more aggressive and expensive treatments.

Neck pain usually occurs due to overuse, inflammation, or injury to the neck region. The pain you experience may be due to a muscle strain or compressed nerve. Muscle strains go away independently with adequate rest and ice and heat therapies.

In contrast, compressed nerves do not decompress on their own. But in some cases, you may receive welcome relief when you take pain-relieving medications.

Regardless of the cause of your neck pain, you should see a doctor. The ideal case to see a doctor is when the pain persists for days causes pins and needles sensations, limits your movement, causes sudden severe headaches, the pain radiates down your arms, and does not respond to home remedies.

Uncommon causes of neck pain, such as cancer, meningitis, cervical radiculopathy, and spinal stenosis, need a doctor’s intervention.

How is Neck Pain Diagnosed?

When you visit Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists, a physical exam and imaging test are usually enough to diagnose the cause of the neck pain. A doctor observes your neck’s range of motion and leverages X-ray or MRI scans to determine if there’s an underlying neck injury.

In rare cases, the doctor may recommend blood tests to determine if other diseases like cancer cause neck pain.

Treatment Options for Neck Pain

After an accurate diagnosis, a pain specialist will employ pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to treat neck pain based on the cause. Surgery is also an alternative, although minimally invasive pain management techniques also work. Some of the treatment options employed at pain centers include:

Pain Relieving Medications

As first-line treatment options, doctors recommend over-the-counter pain relieving meds like NSAIDs and muscle relaxers to ease inflammation and alleviate neck pain. Keep in mind different medications have varied side effects. Talk to your doctor to get the best prescription.

Chiropractic Adjustments

Slow and guided adjustments to the vertebrae in the neck region correct herniated disks and muscle sprains that cause neck pain. A chiropractor may employ hands-on or instrument-assisted adjustments to realign your spine and relieve neck pain. Chiropractic care imparts other merits, such as an improved spinal fluid flow that eases inflammation.

Steroid Injections

Steroid injections are more effective alternatives to painkillers. The shots are directed to the nerve roots and reduce inflammation.

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

A more robust alternative to steroid injections is RFA. Radiofrequency ablation directs radio waves to the affected area and causes a lesion that blocks pain signals from reaching the brain. RFA has longer-term effects than steroid injections.


Surgery may be an option if you have severe spine damage causing neck pain. The surgeon may recommend laminectomy, anterior cervical discectomy, and laminoplasty, among other surgical options, to treat neck pain.