So, how do we diagnose back and/or neck pain? It is important to understand that to pinpoint the exact structure causing neck or back pain can be complex especially from a MRI scan or clinical examination alone. It is important therefore to be able to combine all the assessment and investigations and history in an integrated manner to arrive at the diagnosis.
There are multiple factors that can cause back or neck pain. It can come on because of muscular problems, joint problems, or discs/nerve related problems. It often requires a specialist and a consultant to actually investigate, diagnose and establish a treatment strategy.
You could ask: “What is the role of a pain consultant in this?”
Often most back/neck pains can be managed very well by the GP and by some good physiotherapy, which is what is available initially. However, once you have chronic back pain, you could benefit from seeing a pain consultant.
What are the various options that pain consultants have?
This will vary. We have access to our specialist physiotherapists. We can offer interventions where appropriate, which may include injections into muscles, around the joints, or perhaps nerve blocks or epidurals. We can also signpost our patients to various complementary therapists who can offer them other options such as acupuncture/yoga/osteopathic therapy or massage.
What you need will be a personalized and individualized strategy for your condition, based on other medical conditions you have, and that kind of approach is best done by a pain consultant.