Neck Pain

What is neck pain? What causes neck pain?

Pain located in the neck is a common medical condition. Neck pain can come from a number of disorders and diseases of any tissues in the neck, such as degenerative disc disease, neck strain, whiplash, a herniated disc, or a pinched nerve. Neck pain is also referred to as cervical pain. Compression of the nerve roots may lead to tingling and numbness which can occur in the upper extremities. This condition is known as cervical radiculopathy.

What are other symptoms that are associated with neck pain?

Neck pain is commonly associated with dull aching. Sometimes pain in the neck is worsened with movement of the neck. Other symptoms associated with some forms of neck pain include numbness, tingling, tenderness, sharp shooting pain, fullness, difficulty swallowing, pulsations, swishing sounds in the head, dizziness or lightheadedness, and gland swelling.

How is neck pain diagnosed?

In diagnosing the cause of neck pain, it is important to review the history of the symptoms. In reviewing the history, the doctor will note the location, intensity, duration, and radiation of the pain. Any past injury to the neck is 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.

Further testing of undiagnosed neck pain can include x-ray evaluation, CAT scan, bone scan, MRI scan, myelogram, and electrical tests such as electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity test (NCV).

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