Most cases of neck and back pain can be managed with rest, medication and strengthening exercises. Your family doctor will be able to advise you on the proper care, but in cases of persistent pain or suspected slipped disc, he or she may refer you to an orthopaedic specialist for a more thorough check-up.
In most cases, standard x-rays will be ordered and in some cases special nerve function tests. When a more serious problem is suspected or when surgery is being considered, you will normally be sent for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI. This is a sophisticated way of imaging the spine and is very accurate, and it has the further benefit of being without any radiation as it is performed with the assistance of a magnetic field.
Other less common but serious causes of neck and back pain include infection and cancer and in some of these, other special investigations may be needed for the diagnosis.
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