Which doctor should I see for neck and upper back pain?

Pain and other symptoms that occur in the neck or upper back can have a number of causes. Often it can be caused by minor injuries, such as a strained muscle or sprained ligament, which improve in a short period of time with basic treatment. In other cases, this type of pain can be related to spine conditions that include spinal arthritis, bulging discs and herniated discs.

Neck and upper back pain can be very difficult to deal with but it’s important to keep a positive attitude as you seek treatment. There are a wide range of back doctors who can help you develop a plan of care, and even if a spine condition is the cause, patients are often able to find lasting relief with nonsurgical treatment.

Back doctors who treat the neck and upper back

Patients dealing with neck and/or upper back pain that has not improved in a few days or a week often seek out the following types of back doctors for diagnosis and treatment:

  • Primary care doctors — for initial diagnosis and basic treatment
  • Physiatrists — doctors of physical and rehabilitative medicine
  • Chiropractors —perform techniques to decompress the spine temporarily
  • Neurologists — specialists in disorders affecting the nervous system who may be consulted in cases of nerve compression
  • Spine surgeons — including neurosurgeons or orthopedic surgeons can provide a surgical recommendation if other treatments have been exhausted

Upon diagnosis of the underlying cause of the neck and/or upper back pain, patients often find relief with conservative treatments such as over-the-counter medication, physical therapy, epidural steroid injections, hot and/or cold therapy and over-the-counter medication.

If spine surgery becomes an option

Patients researching their surgical options can contact the caring team at Laser Spine Institute to learn more about how we can help. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is a safer and effective alternative^ to traditional open neck or back procedures, offering our patients a streamlined outpatient experience at our centers across the United States.

When you speak with a member of our team, ask how to receive your free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.