About neck pain (cervical pain)

What is neck pain (cervical pain)?

Pain located in the neck is a common medical condition. 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). Neck pain 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.



What are the symptoms for neck pain (cervical pain)?

  • Pain that's often worsened by holding your head in one place for long periods, such as when driving or working at a computer
  • Muscle tightness and spasms
  • Decreased ability to move your head
  • Headache



What are the causes for neck pain (cervical pain)?

RSD occurs when your sympathetic nervous system and immune system malfunction because of nerve damage. It affects up to 200,000 Americans annually. The damaged nerves misfire, sending your brain excessive signals of pain from the affected area.

90 percent of people with CRPS can point to their medical history to determine what caused the condition.



What are the treatments for neck pain (cervical 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, analgesics, and surgical procedures. Home remedies for treatment, such as Jacuzzi treatment, neck pain relief exercises and stretches, and 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. There are many treatment options, depending on the particular neck problem and past treatment experiences. Alternative treatments that have been used for chronic neck pain include acupuncture.



What are the risk factors for neck pain (cervical pain)?

Many underlying conditions and factors can lead to RSD, including:

  • trauma, such as fractures, broken bones, or amputation
  • infection
  • soft tissue injuries such as burns and bruises
  • sprains
  • radiation therapy
  • cancer
  • surgery
  • paralysis of one side of the body
  • heart attack
  • emotional stress
  • nerve pressure
  • stroke

You may also experience RSD with no prior medical condition. Your doctor will try to determine the cause of the RSD if this is the case.



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