Neck pain is one of the most common problems experienced by people today
and most people have experienced neck pain at one time in their lives.
There are many different causes of neck pain most of which aren't
serious and the pain clears within a few days. However there are other
causes of neck pain that may be due to underlying causes that need medical
treatment. Proper diagnosis of prolonged neck pain or pain due to injury
is necessary to evaluate treatment options.
Possible causes of neck pain:
- Improper posture (whether it be from working on a computer, operating machinery,
hunched over school books, or from various extracurricular hobbies, etc.)
- Neck strain injuries (common to automobile accidents causing whiplash,
sports injuries, or falls.)
- Sleeping improperly
- Herniated disc
- Pinched nerve
- Disc degeneration
- Common infections such as virus infections of the throat that cause swelling
- Other more rare causes such as meningitis or cancer
With the main symptom of neck pain being centralized pain, many people
experience pain radiating through their shoulders and back. If you experience
any of the following symptoms or pain that doesn't go away within
a few days you should consult your physician or a specialist at SCCNS.
Symptoms to be aware of:
- Shooting pain into your shoulder or down your arm.
- Inability to touch your chin to your chest.
- Numbness in arms or hands.
- Loss of feeling or strength in arm or hands.
- Stiff neck combined with any combination of dizziness, nausea, or vomiting.
- Headache or sensitivity to light.
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
- Loss of balance.
- Inability to urinate.
Because there are so many different variables associated with neck pain,
your doctor will need to gather pertinent medical history from you as
well as identifying your symptoms, location of pain, onset of pain, etc.
Because of the varying conditions that are associated with neck pain your
doctor may order Xrays, CT scans or an MRI in order to rule out underlying
conditions. Nerve tests can also be done if cervical radiculopathy (pinched
nerve) is suspected. Certain lab tests may also be ordered if necessary
to rule out inflammatory or infectious conditions that may be associated
with neck pain.