If you experience these symptoms, you need to see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. After an accident, the doctor examines the patient to rule out any injuries that require immediate treatment. Based on the examination and exhibited symptoms, the doctor may recommend a cervical collar for extra neck support.
A doctor may recommend neck X-rays to rule out fractures of the neck, head, and other bones in the body. If the X-rays come back standard, and yet you still have neck pains, the doctor may even decide to have you stay with the cervical collar, but ask you to come back in a week for an evaluation. The doctor may choose to ask for further X-rays, and if the doctor is worried about soft tissue injury, he/she may take X-rays with your head leaning both forward and backward. X-rays consist of electromagnetic energy beams that produce images, bones, organs, and internal tissues.
The doctor may then recommend:
MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging): a computer and large magnets make incredibly detailed images of your soft tissue structures and organs in your body.
CT (Computed Tomography) scan: X-rays and advanced computer technology make axial or horizontal images of your body, mostly known as slices. A CT scan reveals detailed images of whichever part of the body and included muscles, fat, organs, and bones. A CT scan shows more detail than a general X-ray.
Discography: This is an injection into the disc to find out if a disc is contributing to back pain. Discography is done for patients with chronic pain that has not improved over time, and for patients whom surgery is an option.
Electromyography and Nerve conduction velocity (EMG/NCV): This treatment is used if the doctor suspects a nerve is trapped, or your nerves are damaged.