Neck pain is also very common, but the incidence is far more sporadic. We tend to see a lot of neckpain that presents as an acute injury, but has been in the making for years. The neck is extremely flexible and can spend many years adjusting and compensating to alleviate pain. As a result when people have lived with a “sore neck” for years they, they are unnecessarily allowing a disability and permanent dysfunction to develop. Ultimately this will seriously affect their quality of life.
Very often, neck pain is not isolated and can travel to other regions of the body and cause referred pain such as headaches or arm aches.
Several more specific red flags for neck pain: a checklist
Check all that apply. Most people will not be able to check many of these! But the more you can check, the more worthwhile it is to ask your doctor if it’s possible that there’s something more serious going on than just neck pain. Most people who check off an item or two will turn out not to have an ominous health issue. But red flags are reasons to check… not reasons to worry.
Light tapping on the spine is painful.
Weight loss without dieting is a potential sign of cancer.
Mystery fevers and/or chills (especially in diabetic patients).
A fierce headache, and/or an inability to bend the head forward (nuchal rigidity), and/or fever, and/or altered mental state are all symptoms of meningitis (inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, caused by infection or drug side effects).
A severe headache that comes on suddenly is colourfully called a “thunderclap headache”! Most are harmless, but they should always be investigated.
Severe, novel pain (throbbing or constrictive) may be caused by an artery tear
with a high risk of a stroke. Pain is the only symptom of some tears! Most but not all cases are sudden, on one side, and cause both neck and head pain (in the temple or back the skull), but the pain is usually strange.
There are many possible signs of spinal cord trouble in the neck,mostly affecting the limbs in surprisingly vague ways that can have other causes: poor hand coordination; weakness, “heavy” feelings, and atrophy; diffuse numbness; shooting pains in the limbs (especially when bending the head forward); an awkward gait.
Unexplained episodes of dizziness and/or nausea and vomiting may indicate a problem with stability of the upper cervical spine. (Such symptoms should never be dismissed by alternative health professionals as “detoxification” or “healing crisis.”
Steroid use, other drug abuse, and HIV are all risk factors for a serious cause of neck pain.
If you are feeling quite unwell in any other way, that could be an indication that neck pain isn’t the only thing going on.
The main signs that neck pain might caused by autoimmune disease specifically include: a family history of autoimmune disease, gradual but progressive increase in symptoms before the age of 40, marked morning stiffness, pain in other joints as well as the low back, rashes, difficult digestion, irritated eyes, and discharge from the urethra.
Do you know what is whiplash injuries?