Can Neck Pain Be A Sign of Something Serious?

Neck pain is a common condition characterized by strain in the neck muscles. It can be caused by a number of diseases and disorders. It can affect any tissue of the neck. Neck pain can also be called as cervical pain. It can be dull in character that increases when the neck is turned or moved. Numbness, stiffness, tenderness, fullness, sharp pain, headache, difficulty in swallowing, dizziness and swelling in the lymph node are associated with neck pain. It can be treated with heat or cold applications, physiotherapy, analgesics, and surgery.

Can Neck Pain Be A Sign Of Something Serious?

Can Neck Pain Be A Sign Of Something Serious?

Neck pain is a medical condition characterized by strain in neck muscles. It can be caused by an ailment of any tissue of the neck. It is generally caused by the neck injury or neck strain caused by the improper sitting position. It can be prevented by avoiding these activities and performing neck exercises and neck bracing.

Neck pain is generally dull in character and associated with stiffness, dizziness, tingling, shooting pain, headache, pulsations, numbness, and pain in the face and swelling in lymph nodes. The person with neck pain is unable to move his head freely. He may feel spasms and tightness in the muscles of the neck.

Neck pain generally settles down by rest, heat or cold application, analgesics, neck bracing and physiotherapy. Home remedies can also provide relief.

But if the pain persists long without relief, extends to arms or legs and the patient feels difficulty in the mobility of the neck. Then, it is alarming. It is signally towards the serious medical condition that requires the thorough evaluation of the case and medical intervention.

The Causes Of Neck Pain That Indicate Serious Medical Condition Are-

The neck pain resulted from the serious underlying medical condition may have other symptoms too such as

  • Fever indicating any infectious condition
  • A headache that may be different in duration, its intensity
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Change in the mental states like confusion or mood swings
  • Dizziness
  • Uncoordinated actions like walking, or writing
  • Loss of unexplained weight

These symptoms indicate serious medical conditions that need to be managed medically although serious medical conditions may not be present in every case.

For the proper treatment, evaluation of the case is highly essential. Location, duration, intensity, and duration of the pain determine the treatment. For this, your physician will do a physical examination to check the effect of pain on the mobility of the neck. Doctor will advise you tests like X-ray scan, myelogram, CT scan, MRI, nerve conduction velocity test (NCV) and electromyography (EMG).


After the detailed evaluation of the case, treatment totally relies on the underlying cause. Previous treatment options also decide current treatment. Rest, heat or cold applications, massage, topical pain relief lotions and creams, and muscle relaxants can relieve pain to some extent. Injections of cortisone or anesthetics and analgesics are preferred.

Home remedies like Jacuzzi treatment, neck exercises, and stretches can reduce neck pain. Sleeping position and sitting position also influence neck pain, so they should be corrected. Hot pads can reduce pain. Alternative treatments like acupuncture can be used for relief of chronic pain.

Gradual rehabilitation and avoidance of new injury can also assist to resolve neck pain.

Prognosis for neck pain is good and can be treated with conservative measures.


Neck pain is a common medical condition that is characterized by pain in the neck region prohibiting the natural movement of the neck. Injury and other medical diseases can induce neck pain, neck pain resolves easily with rest and conservative methods. It becomes a serious disorder when it persists for a long period of time and is not settled with conservative methods.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 17, 2018

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