LifeCare Dignostic

November 15, 2021

What are the causes of neck pain?

Poor posture, neck strain, neck injury such as in whiplash, osteoarthritis, cervical spondylosis, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, herniated disc, pinched nerve due to cervical radiculopathy

Rare infections, such as tuberculosis of the neck, infection of the spine bones in the neck (osteomyelitis and septic discitis), and meningitis (often accompanied by neck stiffness)

Neck pain can also come from conditions directly affecting the muscles of the neck, such as fibromyalgia and polymyalgia rheumatica, as well as from uncomfortable positioning of the neck while sleeping with the head on a pillow

What symptoms can neck pain be associated with?

How do health care professionals diagnose neck pain?

  • In diagnosing the cause of neck pain, it is important for the doctor to get the history of the symptoms.
  • In reviewing the medical history, the doctor will note the location, intensity, duration and radiation of the pain.  
  • Is the pain worsened or improved with turning or repositioning of the head?
  • Any past injury to the neck and past treatments are noted.
  • Aggravating and/or relieving positions or motions are also recorded.
  • The neck is examined at rest and in motion.
  • Tenderness is detected during palpation of the neck.
  • An examination of the nervous system is performed to determine whether or not nerve involvement is present.

What tests can be done to try to find the cause of neck pain?

Further testing of undiagnosed neck pain can include:

  • X-rays of the neck.
  • CT scan.
  • Bone scan.
  • MRI scan.
  • Myelogram.
  • Electrical tests such as electromyography (EMG)
  • Nerve conduction studies (NCV).

Once the diagnosis has been ascertained, then therapy can be directed at the cause of neck pain. The treatment of neck pain depends on its precise cause.

Treatment options include:

  • Rest
  • Heat or cold applications
  • Traction
  • Soft-collar traction
  • Physical therapy
  • (Ultrasound, massage, manipulation)
  • Local injections of cortisone or anesthetics
  • Topical anesthetic creams
  • Topical pain-relief patches
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Over – the – counter anti-inflammatory medication
  • Surgical procedures

Self-care measures for treatment:

  • Jacuzzi treatment
  • Neck pain relief exercises and stretches
  • Neck pain relief products such as neck pillows for sleep and hot pads can be very beneficial for relief of some forms of neck pain