Neck Pain

What is neck pain?

Due to its location and range-of-motion, your neck is often left unprotected and at risk for injury. Neck pain can range from mild discomfort to disabling, chronic pain.

What causes neck pain?

Many different things can cause neck pain including injury, age-related disorders, and inflammatory disease. Causes of neck pain and problems may include:

  • Damage to the muscles, tendons, or
  • Herniated disk in the neck
  • Arthritis such as osteoarthritis or
    rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cervical (neck) disk degeneration
  • Problems of the vertebrae and bones
    present at birth (congenital)
  • Tumors


What are the symptoms of neck pain?

Neck pain may feel: 

  • Tender
  • Sharp
  • Stiff
  • Spasmodic
  • Burning or tingling

Sometimes other symptoms occur along with neck pain such as weakness
in your arm or hand, or headaches. Pain can also spread to your back.

How is neck pain diagnosed?

Along with a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnostic procedures for neck pain may include:

  • Blood tests. These tests can help diagnose underlying
    inflammatory disease.
  • Electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction studies. These
    tests are done together to evaluate nerve function.
  • X-ray. This is a test that uses electromagnetic energy
    beams to make images of bones onto film.
  • MRI. This procedure uses large magnets and a computer to
    make detailed images of organs and structures within the body. MRI can often
    identify damage or disease of internal structures within our joints or in a
    surrounding ligament or muscle.
  • CT scan. This is an imaging procedure that uses X-rays and
    computer technology to make images of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of
    any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are
    more detailed than general X-rays.