In a recent article, neck pain was cited as being most commonly caused by mechanical stress to the neck, such as strains or sprains to the muscles and ligaments in the neck. Of course, there are many more causes and in the article, the following were highlighted:

Poor posture

The part of the neck that is particularly vulnerable to forward head posture is the lower part of the neck, just above the shoulders. The lower cervical vertebrae (C5 and C6) may slightly slide or shear forward relative to one another as a result of the persistent pull of gravity on a forward head. This shear force can be a problem for people with jobs that require them to look down or forward all day, such as pharmacists who spend many hours counting pills or data entry workers who look at a computer screen.

Trauma or injury

Whiplash is a term that describes injury to the neck that occurs as a result of a motor vehicle or car accident. The most common type of car accident is the rear impact, and most typically, the occupant in the vehicle that gets hit from behind is at the greatest risk of injury, including whiplash.

Until recently, the reason for the extent of whiplash injuries was poorly understood. In addition, due to the legal and insurance issues, the veracity of complaints of neck pain and other symptoms by people who suffer from whiplash is commonly viewed as suspect.

However, recent research has helped clarify why occupants struck from behind experience more extensive whiplash injuries than those in other types of crashes. This new information is important for the physician treating whiplash pain, as it impacts the physician’s case management strategy.

Torticollis

According to healthline.com, torticollis, or wry neck, is a painfully twisted and tilted neck. The top of the head generally tilts to one side while the chin tilts to the other side. This condition can be present at birth or acquired. It can also be the result of damage to the neck muscles or blood supply. Wry neck sometimes goes away without treatment. However, there’s a chance of relapse.

Spinal degeneration

The most common and obvious symptoms of cervical degenerative disc disease are neck pain and a stiff neck. When one of these conditions presses on one or more of the many nerves running through the spinal cord, you also can develop pain, numbness, or weakness running down your shoulder, arm, and hand.

Radiculopathy

Radiculopathy is a disorder or disease of nerve roots that enter or leave the spine. Cervical radiculopathy involves the nerves in the neck region, which may lead to neck pain.

There are other more rare conditions and potential reasons for neck pain, with some being more serious and requiring extensive specialized therapies. Potential indicators include:

  • lack of coordination
  • problems walking
  • bladder/bowel control
  • unexplained weight loss
  • high temperature/fever

As  part of a health care provider’s diagnostic process, medical imaging often plays an important role. Common exams for diagnosing neck pain include x-rays, Computed Tomography (CT) scans and/or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) studies. These tests, along with the radiologist’s report, assist in providing a better picture of what may be causing neck pain.

Diagnostic Imaging Services performs these common exams, and much more, at all of our locations. By choosing DIS, you choose an independent provider that allows you to save money on health care when your insurance and/or your deductible do not cover the entire fee.

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