Don’t Let Neck Pain and Picking the Right Doctor Be a Pain in The Neck

If you suffer from neck pain, understanding its causes and how to treat it is critical.

“The neck – or cervical spine – houses the spinal cord which sends messages from the brain to all parts of the body,” explains Dr. Jay Chun, a neurosurgeon at Atlantic NeuroSurgical Specialists (ANS). ANS is a proud partner of Altair Health, one of the nation’s first physician-managed healthcare systems devoted to comprehensive spine care.  “Because of its delicate nature, treating cervical spine issues correctly is critical to well-being.

“Neck pain can signal an underlying medical issue, especially if it persists,” Chun, who specializes in cervical spine, explains. “So it’s best to see a doctor sooner than later to avoid larger problems down the road.”

What kind of doctor should you see?

“There are two types of doctors who typically treat neck pain: neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons,” Chun elaborates. “Neurosurgeons diagnose and treat disorders affecting the nervous system – the delicate and complex command, control and communication network in the body that’s made up of the brain, spine and neurovascular system. Orthopedic surgeons specialize in the musculoskeletal system comprising the bones of the skeleton, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints and other connective tissue. Both can specialize in spine surgery; however, orthopedic surgeons do not deal with the neurovascular system. They often call in neurosurgeons when they encounter complications in surgery.”

Ask these questions when determining the best doctor to treat your specific issue:

  • What kinds of minimally invasive procedures do you offer?
  • How many neck surgeries have you performed?
  • What is the range of cervical care you provide?
  • What do you do if there is a neurovascular issue?
  • Do you use the latest technologies such as image guidance, computer modeling and navigation?
  • Do you treat the spinal cord itself?
  • Do you collect data on patient outcomes and participate in the national registry that tracks results by procedure?

“Choosing the right doctor for you and your neck pain shouldn’t be a pain in the neck,” Chun concludes. “But, be sure to do your due diligence. You – and your neck – are way too important.”

For more information on cervical spine issues and treatments, call 833.4ALTAIR (833.425.8247) and visit