Neck pain can come from a number of disorders and diseases and can involve any of the tissues in the neck. Examples of common conditions causing neck pain are degenerative disc disease, neck strain, neck injury such as in whiplash, a herniated disc, or a pinched nerve. Neck pain can come from common infections, such as virus infection of the throat, leading to lymph node (gland) swelling and neck pain. Neck pain can also come from 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). It can also come from conditions directly affecting the muscles of the neck, such as fibromyalgia and polymyalgia rheumatica. Neck pain is also referred to as cervical pain.
HOW IS NECK PAIN DIAGNOSED?
A general physician can diagnose the condition with a thorough physical examination. Sometimes, imaging tests may be needed for definitive diagnosis when the pain is chronic. This can include MRI or a simple x-ray. An electromyography may also be needed in some cases.
HOW IS NECK PAIN TREATED?
Treatment of neck pain depends on the severity and the cause of pain. If it is due to other diseases, then the underlying cause needs to be treated. If it is due to a fracture or a sprain, then movement needs to be restricted by using a collar or a cast. Physiotherapist may suggest simple exercises for pain relief. For serious injuries, surgical intervention may be needed
DID YOU KNOW?
Neck pain can also be associated with headache, facial pain, shoulder pain, and arm numbness or tingling (upper extremity paresthesias). These associated symptoms are often a result of nerves becoming pinched in the neck. Depending on the condition, sometimes neck pain is accompanied by upper back and/or lower back pain, as is common in inflammation of the spine from ankylosing spondylitis