Neck pain: causes, accompanying symptoms and treatment

Neck pain at various intervals in 70% of adults. However, painful feelings can not only be of a different nature but can also be caused by a variety of illnesses. Therefore, they are mainly not observed in isolation, but are accompanied by other symptoms that help in correct diagnosis and selection of optimal treatment tactics.

Types of neck pain

types of neck pain

Neck pain can be short-term and limited to minor discomforts, or it can be very severe, significantly disrupting daily life. People are more likely to complain of a sudden feeling of lumbago, followed by persistent pain. It can be painful, tingling, throbbing, astringent, or other.

Neck pain is also called cervicalgia.

Discomfort usually increases during movements, such as turning or tilting the head, while maintaining a static, particularly uncomfortable position for a long time, especially when working at a computer for a long time. In this respect, one is forced, often unconsciously, to turn his whole body in order to spare his neck as much as possible.

Thus, it is obvious that neck pain can be very different. Therefore, they are not only acute (lasting less than 10 days) and chronic, but are also divided into:

  • vertebrogen - occurs in the background of pathological changes in the cervical spine, including changes in the intervertebral discs, compression of the spinal roots and spinal cord;
  • is ​​not a vertebra - it is caused by all other causes, including infectious diseases, inflammatory processes in the muscles, diseases of the thyroid gland, lymph nodes, and so on.
severe neck pain

Vertebrogenic pain is characterized by radiation from the occipital region, shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers. Numbness, decreased sensitivity, and mobility are often observed, indicating the development of neurological disorders, i. e. , violation of one or another anatomical structure of the nerve roots or spinal cord. In such situations, dizziness, loss of consciousness, and headache may also be observed, indicating compression of the vertebral arteries, such as an intervertebral hernia.

Talk to your doctor urgently if your neck pain is acute or dizzy, you feel numbness in the back of your head, or tinnitus.

Causes of neck pain

Sometimes it is difficult for patients to distinguish sore throat from neck pain on their own because it can be so diffuse that the feelings are blurred and the whole neck appears to be sore. If this is accompanied by a feeling of sweating or scratching, a rise in body temperature, this can indicate laryngitis, acute respiratory viral infections, sore throats, pharyngitis and other colds. This symptoms also include:

  • gastroesophageal reflux;
  • Itsenko-Cushing's syndrome;
  • foreign bodies entering the pharynx, such as fish bones;
  • hypovitaminosis;
  • Development of benign and malignant tumors in the throat.

Nevertheless, in most cases, people can distinguish throat problems from real neck pain, which can be observed on both the anterolateral surfaces and the back and anterior.

Localization of pain is an important diagnostic feature that allows the source of pain to be identified during the examination phase and then thoroughly studied using instrumental diagnostic methods.

Front neck pain: caused by

The occurrence of unpleasant or even painful sensations directly in the area under the chin or diffuse pain in the entire front of the neck may indicate the following:

  • thyroid disease;
  • inflammatory processes in the muscles affecting ligaments and nerves;
  • formation of cysts and abscesses;
  • attraction of lymph nodes;
  • angina pectoris.
causes of neck pain

That is, the list of possible causes is quite extensive and it is impossible to determine independently what caused the neck pain exactly. In such situations, it is advisable to consult a therapist for an examination. If necessary, the doctor will refer the patient to a narrow specialist with the desired profile.

Vertebral artery syndrome and radical syndrome may also be associated with anterior neck pain. In both cases, the cause is a pinch of the blood vessels or nerves due to a deformed intervertebral disc, edematous tissue, a displaced cervical vertebra, or other structure. Our clinic has developed an integrated approach to solving the problem - experienced chiropractors, neurologists, rehabilitologists, endocrinologists perform examinations and prescribe the necessary treatment.

Back neck pain: causes

Due to the peculiarities of modern lifestyles, people are very often worried about back pain in the back of the neck. Working on a computer, constant use of gadgets, low physical activity, and bad habits all cause pathological changes in the structure of the spine that manifest as neck pain. Therefore, in the case of aching, pulling, sharp pains, lumbago in the back of the neck, a chiropractor or a vertebrologist should be consulted first and foremost, as in the vast majority of cases this indicates diseases of the cervical spine, namely:

  • osteochondrosis is a widespread disease with degenerative-dystrophic changes in the intervertebral discs, decreased height, and decreased strength;
  • protrusion - a complication of osteochondrosis in which the intervertebral disc protrudes (more often into the spinal canal, where the spinal cord and nerve roots pass), causing a risk of pinching of the nerves and vertebral arteries;
  • Intervertebral hernias are a consequence of a lack of protruding treatment, as the internal contents of the intervertebral disc penetrate the spinal canal, gradually increase and severely compress the nerves and spinal cord, and in the last stage of development become detached and "progress" through the spinal canal, sometimes severe and sometimescomplications to paralysis;
  • spondylosis is a complication of osteochondrosis in which bony protrusions, called osteophytes, grow along the edge of the vertebral bodies and the intervertebral discs critically flatten, eventually leading to fusion of adjacent vertebrae and neck mobility;
  • Myofascial syndrome - a disease in which individual muscles are spasmodic, leading to acute pain during physical activity or when certain points in the neck are pressed;
  • Compression fractures of the vertebrae
  • - most commonly occur in the elderly with osteoporosis or, for example, the consequences of a whiplash, such as in an accident, and pose a serious threat to human life and health;
  • ankylosing spondylitis is a systemic disease that affects almost all joints in the body and causes severe movement restrictions due to the fusion of individual vertebrae to form strong and immobile conglomerates.

More rarely, back and neck pain is caused by spinal tuberculosis, osteomyelitis, or Reiter's syndrome.

Lateral neck pain: causes

lateral neck pain

Most often, pain in the side surfaces of the neck burns or throbbing and can also cause tingling. They tend to be given to the shoulders and ears, sometimes leading to the formation of secondary torticollis, which causes the head to tilt to the affected side. This is a feature:

  • vascular pathologies, including atherosclerosis;
  • muscle cramps that can be triggered by heavy neck strain, sudden movement, or hypothermia;
  • Development of malignancies in the thyroid gland, pharynx and larynx.

Diagnosing the causes of neck pain

Since in the vast majority of cases, neck pain is caused by the development of pathologies of the cervical spine when they appear, it is advisable to contact a chiropractor, vertebrologist, or neurologist. Based on the complaints, test data, and neurological tests, your doctor will be able to determine if the neck discomfort is really due to spinal disorders or is caused by other diseases.

Nevertheless, spinal disorders are actually one of the causes of concomitant diseases of the internal organs. After all, changes in the position of the vertebrae, a decrease in the height of the intervertebral plates, and other, even minor changes lead to a violation of the transmission of nerve impulses from the spinal cord through the nerve roots to the internal organs along the nerves.

Because the spinal cord is characterized by segmental innervation, meaning that all parts of it are responsible for the proper functioning of a particular organ, cervical spinal disorders can cause innervation of ENT organs, vocal cords, thyroid and parathyroid glands, and neck, shoulders and forearms. change it. Therefore, initially their work is interrupted and over time organic changes appear, i. e. this or that disease develops that can cause pain of varying intensity and nature in the neck.

Therefore, diseases of the internal organs are rarely diagnosed and no changes in the spine are detected, so consultation with a chiropractor is required without failure. But if the patient has signs of disease of the thyroid, heart, otolaryngology, or others, it has also been shown that he receives advice from narrow specialists (endocrinologist, cardiologist, otolaryngologist, etc. ).

neck pain diagnosis

Thus, the diagnosis of the causes of neck pain is always complex. May contain:

  • general and biochemical blood test;
  • determining the levels of thyroid hormones in the blood;
  • Ultrasound with dopplerography of the vessels of the neck, thyroid, salivary glands;
  • X-ray of the cervical spine;
  • electron neuromyography;
  • CT;
  • MRI.

MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is the most informative way to diagnose spinal pathologies. The method makes it possible to study the condition of the intervertebral plates down to the smallest detail, to assess the quality of blood flow in the vertebral arteries, and to show signs of compression of the spinal cord or its roots. It is used to diagnose diseases at the earliest stage of development, ensuring the earliest possible start and high effectiveness of treatment.

In our clinic you can learn more about the composition of your body and the condition of the vascular system, which is involved in the blood supply to the internal organs, musculoskeletal muscles and brain. . Our experienced doctors will explain the findings to you in detail. Bioimpedanometry calculates the ratio of fat, muscle, bone and skeletal mass, total body fluid, metabolism. The intensity of recommended physical activity depends on the state of muscle mass. And metabolic processes affect the body's ability to heal. Indicators of active cell mass can be used to assess levels of physical activity and nutritional balance. This simple and quick test will help you see endocrine disorders and take action. In addition, it is very important to know the condition of blood vessels in the prevention of diseases such as heart attack, high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes mellitus and many more. Angioscan allows you to determine important metrics such as the biological age, stiffness, stress index (which is the heart rate), and oxygen saturation of the blood vessels. Such screening can be useful for men and women over the age of 30, athletes, people under long and difficult treatment, and anyone who monitors their health.

In this case, body composition analysis provides us with information that the body is dominated by adipose tissue and the musculoskeletal component is relatively deficient. These data help the rehabilitator to prepare a physical activity plan correctly, taking into account the individual characteristics of the patient.

Treating neck pain

For each patient, therapy tactics are strictly tailored individually based on diagnosis, severity of pathological lesions, presence of concomitant diseases, and other factors. Even patients with the same disability may prescribe different treatments as it is affected even by age and physical development.

However, the treatment of diseases that cause neck pain is always complex and involves both symptoms and etiotropic therapy. In other words, it aims to eliminate the symptoms and causes of the disease. The main components of therapy are often:

  • medication;
  • osteopathy;
  • manual therapy;
  • massage;
  • physiotherapy (phonophoresis, carboxytherapy, ozone therapy, RF-current pressotherapy);
  • individual lessons at a rehabilitation doctor.
neck pain treatment

When diagnosing pathologies of the cervical spine, it is shown to modify your lifestyle and habits to some extent. So we recommend office workers, drivers, seamstresses, and other sedentary occupations to warm up as often as possible and avoid prolonged maintenance of forced posture, especially neck muscle tension.

It is also important to eat properly so that the body receives all the necessary nutrients. This not only makes it possible to slow down the progression of the pathology, but also contributes to a faster course of regeneration processes.

In case of severe pain, the chiropractor may recommend that the patient purchase a neck brace or Chance collar. Wearing it helps to unload the cervical spine and avoid rashes, sudden movements that lead to a gradual fading of the pain syndrome. In our center you can select and buy the right bandage for you.

Before appointment, you can cover your neck with a wool scarf to relieve pain, or no later than 12 hours before taking the anesthetic tablet.

Drug therapy

The nature and amount of medications prescribed can vary over a very wide range, depending directly on the diagnosis and the presence of concomitant diseases. Therefore, we only list the groups of drugs that are prescribed to the vast majority of patients:

    NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that also differ in their analgesic properties (they are produced in different dosage forms, including tablets, ointments, solution for injection, etc. );
  • corticosteroids are drugs with a strong anti-inflammatory effect that are used only in severe inflammatory processes that NSAIDs cannot eliminate;
  • muscle relaxants - medicines that eliminate muscle cramps of various origins, which help reduce the severity of pain;
  • Chondroprotectors - drugs that help restore cartilage tissue that makes up intervertebral discs, but are only effective in the early stages of osteochondrosis;
  • B vitamins - to improve the conduction of bioelectrical impulses from the spinal cord to the appropriate organs and to restore their proper functioning;
  • Vitamin D - a drug responsible for the condition of bone tissue and higher brain functions such as memory, memory, attention, speech.

Patients may also be prescribed antibiotics, hormone replacement therapy, antihypertensive drugs, and more.

Obstructions are used for particularly severe neck pain. The procedures involve injecting anesthetic solutions with corticosteroids into the area where the nerves pass through the neck, allowing for very rapid pain relief. But in addition to being effective only for pain caused by nerve damage, they also require a high level of expertise from health care workers, as there is a risk of nerve injury, infection, and serious complications if a blockade is performed.

Manual therapy

Manual therapy is one of the most effective ways to treat neck pain and its causes, but only if done correctly. It has a direct effect on the spine and surrounding soft tissues. Do not confuse manual therapy with therapeutic massage in which only the muscles of the back and neck are developed.

manual therapy for neck pain

Techniques and methods of manual therapy literally allow for a significant improvement in well-being after the first session and ultimately achieve complete remission. Here's how to do it:

  • restoring the normal axis of the spine by returning the vertebrae to their anatomically correct position;
  • increasing the distance between the vertebral bodies and releasing compressed nerves and blood vessels, which helps to eliminate the signs of radical syndrome, improves the functioning of internal organs and especially the brain;
  • elimination of neck muscle spasms and functional blocks, which improves mobility and reduces the severity of pain;
  • improves blood circulation and tissue nutrition.

We do not have common treatment standards, we take a unique approach to each patient. Only a highly trained professional should be entrusted to perform manual therapy. Otherwise, the use of inappropriate techniques can only harm the patient, exacerbate the problem, or provoke complications.


Physiotherapy procedures are used to improve the effectiveness of therapy. They are presented only outside the acute period and have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and improve the microcirculation of soft tissues and contribute to the normalization of muscle tone.

Courses are usually prescribed, consisting of 8-15 procedures. These can be:

physiotherapy for neck pain
  • electrophoresis;
  • UHF;
  • ultrasound therapy;
  • laser therapy;
  • traction therapy (spinal cord traction);
  • mud baths, etc.

The number and frequency of physiotherapy treatments are chosen individually by your doctor. Some procedures may be combined with each other, while others must be performed strictly at certain intervals.

gym therapy

Physiotherapy is an essential component of conservative therapy for neck pain. Because muscle overload and intervertebral discs are very often the cause of the degenerative-dystrophic processes it causes, it is important to pay due attention to exercise and daily exercise.

A rehabilitation physician develops a program of physiotherapy exercises for each patient. The use of complexes presented on the Internet can be dangerous because they do not take into account the patient’s individual characteristics, age, the degree of neglect of the pathological process, and the patient’s physical fitness. Therefore, the development of a movement therapy program requires the assistance of a specialist. In addition, the first few treatments are necessarily performed under his or her control so that the patient understands how to perform each exercise and does no harm to himself or herself in the independent studies. You should exercise in a relaxed environment at home, avoiding sudden movements, and if you experience pain, you should see a doctor.

Thus, neck pain is widespread. They can be caused by various diseases, but the most common cause of discomfort is spinal problems caused by a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, do not hesitate to consult a doctor. In fact, it can be easily treated with conservative methods in the early stages of disease development. While in advanced cases, neck pain and its causes can only be eliminated by surgery.