Neck pain: causes, associated symptoms and treatment

The neck hurts at different intervals in 70% of adults. At the same time, painful sensations can not only be of a different nature, but can also be caused by a variety of diseases. Therefore, they are mainly observed not in isolation, but are accompanied by other symptoms that help to correctly diagnose and choose the ideal treatment tactics.

Types of neck pain

types of neck pain

Neck pain can be short-lived and limited to minor discomfort, or very severe, significantly interfering with everyday life. More often, people complain that they suddenly feel low back pain, after which persistent pain occurs. It can be painful, tingling, throbbing, constriction or otherwise.

Neck pain is also called neck pain.

Discomfort usually intensifies during movements, for example, when turning or tilting the head, while maintaining a static position, especially uncomfortable for a long time, particularly during a long work on the computer. In that sense, a person is forced, often even unconsciously, to turn his whole body to spare his neck as much as possible.

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

  • vertebrogenic - occurring in the context of pathological changes in the cervical spine, including with lesions of intervertebral discs, compression of spinal roots and spinal cord;
  • non-vertebral - resulting from all other causes, including infectious diseases, inflammatory processes in the muscles, diseases of the thyroid gland, lymph nodes, etc.
severe neck pain

Vertebrogenic pain is characterized by irradiation to the occipital region, shoulders, arms, even the hands and fingers. Often, numbness, decreased sensitivity and mobility are observed, which indicates the development of neurological disorders, that is, violation of one or another anatomical structure of the nerve roots or spinal cord. Also, in these situations, dizziness, attacks of loss of consciousness and headaches can be observed, which indicates compression of the vertebral arteries, for example, an intervertebral hernia.

It is urgent to make an appointment with a doctor if the pain in the neck is acute or accompanied by dizziness, a sensation of numbness in the neck or tinnitus.

Causes of neck pain

Sometimes it is difficult for patients to differentiate between a sore throat and a neck pain independently, as it can be so diffuse that the sensations become cloudy and the whole neck seems to hurt. If this is accompanied by a feeling of sweat or itching in the throat, an increase in body temperature, this can indicate laryngitis, SARS, sore throat, pharyngitis and other colds. In addition, this symptom is typical for:

    gastroesophageal reflux
  • ;
  • Itsenko-Cushing syndrome;
  • foreign bodies entering the pharynx, for example, fish bones;
  • hypovitaminosis;
  • formation of benign and malignant tumors in the throat.

Still, in most cases, people can differentiate throat problems from real neck pain, which can be seen on both the anterolateral surfaces and the back and front.

The location of the pain is an important diagnostic resource that allows you to determine the origin of the pain, even at the examination stage, and then carefully study the changes that have occurred using instrumental diagnostic methods.

Frontal neck pain: causes

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

  • thyroid disease;
  • inflammation of the muscles that affect the ligaments and nerves;
  • formation of cysts and abscesses;
  • affection of the 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 exactly caused the neck pain. In such situations, it is worthwhile to contact a therapist for an examination. If necessary, the doctor will refer the patient to a specialist restricted to the desired profile.

Vertebral artery syndrome and root syndrome can also be associated with anterior cervical pain. In both cases, the cause is an infraction of blood vessels or nerves by a deformed intervertebral disc, edematous tissues, a displaced cervical vertebral body or other structure. Our clinic has developed an integrated approach to solving this problem - experienced chiropractors, neurologists, rehabilitologists and endocrinologists will do an examination and prescribe the necessary treatment.

Back pain: causes

Due to the peculiarities of the modern lifestyle, people often worry about neck pain. Working in front of the computer, constant use of gadgets, low level of physical activity and bad habits, all this causes pathological changes in the structure of the spine, which manifest themselves as pain in the neck. Therefore, in case of aches, pulls, sharp pains, lumbago in the back of the neck, firstly, a consultation with a chiropractor or a vertebrologist is necessary, since this in the overwhelming majority of cases indicates diseases of the cervical spine, namely:

  • Osteochondrosis is a generalized disease accompanied by degenerative-dystrophic changes in the intervertebral discs, decreased height and decreased strength;
  • protrusion - a complication of osteochondrosis, in which the intervertebral disc protrudes (most often into the spinal canal, where the spinal cord and nerve roots pass), which causes the risk of pinching nerves and vertebral arteries;
  • intervertebral hernias are a consequence of the lack of treatment for protrusion, in which the internal content of the intervertebral disc penetrates the spinal canal, gradually increases and can seriously compress the nerves and spinal cord, and in the last stage of development they separateand "travel" along the spinal canal, causing the most serious, and sometimes irreversible complications to paralysis;
  • Spondylosis
  • is ​​a complication of osteochondrosis, in which bone protrusions, called osteophytes, grow along the edges of the vertebral bodies and the intervertebral discs are critically flattened, which over time leads to the fusion of the adjacent vertebrae with each other. and the restriction of neck mobility;
  • myofascial syndrome - a disease in which the individual muscles spasm, which leads to acute pain attacks during physical activity or when pressing on certain points of the neck;
  • vertebrae compression fractures - most often occur in the elderly with osteoporosis or are the result of a neck injury, for example, in an accident, and represent 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 limitation of mobility due to the fusion of individual vertebrae with each other, forming strong and immobile clusters.

Much less often, back pain is caused by spinal tuberculosis, osteomyelitis or Reiter's syndrome.

Lateral neck pain: causes

lateral neck pain

Most of the time, the pain on the side surfaces of the neck is burning or throbbing, and can also be tingling. They tend to sag at the shoulder and ear, sometimes accompanied by the formation of a secondary stiff neck, as a result of which the head tilts to the affected side. This is typical of:

  • blood vessel pathologies, including atherosclerosis;
  • muscle spasms, which can be triggered by a heavy load on the neck, sudden movement or hypothermia;
  • formation of malignant formations in the thyroid gland, pharynx and larynx.

Diagnosis of the causes of neck pain

As in the overwhelming majority of cases, neck pain is caused by the development of pathologies of the cervical spine, when they appear it is worth contacting a chiropractor, vertebrologist or neurologist. The doctor, based on complaints, neurological exams and exam data, will be able to determine whether the neck discomfort is really due to spinal disorders or is caused by other illnesses.

However, it is the deviations from the norm in the state of the spine that, in fact, are one of the reasons for the development of concomitant diseases of Organs internal organs. After all, a change in the position of the vertebrae, a decrease in the height of the intervertebral discs and others, even small changes, lead to a violation of the transmission of nerve impulses from the spinal cord through the nerve roots along the nerves to the internal organs.

As the spinal cord is characterized by segmental innervation, that is, each part of it is responsible for the correct functioning of a certain organ, in the event of disorders of the cervical spine, the innervation of otorhinolaryngological organs, vocal cords, thyroid and parathyroid cansuffer, and also the muscles of the neck, shoulders and forearms. Therefore, initially their work is interrupted and, with the passage of time, organic changes appear, that is, this or that disease develops, which can cause pains of varying intensity and character in the neck.

Therefore, diseases of internal organs are rarely diagnosed and changes in the spine are not detected and, therefore, consultation with a chiropractor is necessary without fail. But if the patient has signs of diseases of the thyroid gland, heart, ENT organs or others, he also receives advice from restricted specialists (endocrinologist, cardiologist, otorhinolaryngologist, etc. ).

neck pain diagnosis

Thus, the diagnosis of the causes of cervical pain is always complex. It can include:

  • general and biochemical blood test;
  • determination of the level of thyroid hormones in the blood;
  • Ultrasound with dopplerography of the vessels of the neck, thyroid gland, salivary glands;
  • x-ray of the cervical spine;
  • electroneuromyography
  • ;
  • CT;
  • MRI.

To diagnose pathologies of the spine, MRI, that is, MRI, is more informative. The method allows to study the state of the intervertebral discs in the smallest details, to evaluate the quality of the blood flow in the vertebral arteries and to detect signs of compression of the spinal cord or its roots. With your help, diseases are diagnosed in the early stages of development, which guarantees the earliest possible start of treatment and its high effectiveness.

In our clinic, you can also learn more about your body composition and the state of the vascular system, which is involved in the blood supply to internal organs, musculoskeletal muscles and the brain. Our experienced doctors will explain the findings to you in detail. Bioimpedansometry calculates the relationship between fat, muscle, bone and skeletal mass, total body fluid and basal metabolic rate. The intensity of the recommended physical activity depends on the state of the muscle mass. Metabolic processes, in turn, affect the body's ability to recover. According to the indicators of active cell mass, the level of physical activity and nutritional balance can be judged. This quick and easy test helps us to see endocrine disruptions and take action. In addition, it is also very important that we know the status of blood vessels for the prevention of diseases such as heart attacks, hypertension, heart failure, diabetes mellitus and more. Angioscan allows determining important indicators such as the biological age of blood vessels, their stiffness, stress index (which speaks of heart rate), oxygen saturation in the blood. This screening will be useful for men and women over 30, athletes, those who are undergoing long and difficult treatment, as well as anyone who monitors their health.

In this case, the analysis of body composition gives us information that the body is dominated by adipose tissue, and the bone-muscle component is in relative deficit. These data will help the rehabilitator to correctly plan a physical activity plan, taking into account the individual characteristics of the patient.

Treatment of neck pain

For each patient, therapy tactics are developed strictly individually based on the diagnosis, the severity of pathological changes, the presence of concomitant diseases and other factors. Even patients with the same disabilities can receive different treatments, as even their age and level of physical development affect them.

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

  • drug treatment;
  • osteopathy;
  • manual therapy;
  • massage
  • ;
  • physiotherapy (phonophoresis, carboxitherapy, ozone therapy, pressotherapy with RF currents);
  • individual classes with a doctor in rehabilitation.
neck pain treatment

When diagnosing pathologies of the cervical spine, he shows some adjustments in his lifestyle and habits. Thus, office workers, drivers, seamstresses and representatives of other sedentary professions are advised to warm up as much as possible and avoid prolonged maintenance of a forced body posture, mainly requiring tension in the neck muscles.

It is also important to eat well so that the body gets all the nutrients it needs. This will allow not only to delay the progression of the pathology, but also to contribute to a faster course of the regeneration processes.

For severe pain, the chiropractor may recommend that the patient purchase a cervical collar or Chance collar. Wearing it will help to unload the cervical spine and prevent skin rashes and sudden movements, which will lead to the gradual disappearance of the pain syndrome. In our center you can choose and purchase a dressing that suits you.

You can wrap your neck in a woolen scarf to relieve pain before your appointment or take an anesthetic pill a maximum of 12 hours before taking it.

Medical therapy

The nature of the prescription drugs and their quantity can vary over a wide range, which depends directly on the diagnosis and the presence of concomitant diseases. Therefore, we list only the groups of drugs that are prescribed for the vast majority of patients:

  • NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that also differ in their analgesic properties (produced in various pharmaceutical forms, including pills, ointments, injectable solutions, etc. );
  • corticosteroids are drugs with a powerful anti-inflammatory effect, used only for severe inflammatory processes that NSAIDs cannot eliminate;
  • muscle relaxants - drugs that eliminate muscle spasms of various origins, which helps to reduce the intensity of pain;
  • chondroprotectors - drugs that promote the restoration of the cartilaginous tissue that makes up the intervertebral discs, but are effective only in the early stages of osteochondrosis;
  • B vitamins - used to improve the conduction of bioelectric impulses from the spinal cord to Organs corresponding organs and restore their proper functioning;
  • vitamin D - a remedy responsible for the condition of bone tissue, as well as for higher brain functions, such as memory, memory, attention, speech.

In addition, patients can be prescribed antibiotics, hormone replacement therapy, antihypertensive drugs and others.

For particularly severe sore throats, blockages are used. The procedures involve the injection of anesthetic solutions with corticosteroids in the area where the nerves in the neck pass, which allows pain relief very quickly. But, in addition to being effective only for pain caused by nerve damage, they require a high level of professionalism from medical professionals, because when performing a block, there is a risk of nerve damage, infection and of causing serious complications.

Manual therapy

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

manual therapy for sore throat

The techniques and methods of manual therapy literally allow, after the first session, to achieve a significant improvement in well-being and, finally, complete remission. This is done through:

  • restoration of the normal axis of the spine, returning the vertebrae to their anatomically correct position;
  • increase the distance between the vertebral bodies and the release of compressed nerves and blood vessels, which helps to eliminate the signs of the root syndrome, improve the functioning of Organs internal organs and especially the brain;
  • elimination of spasm in the neck muscles and functional blocks, which improves mobility and reduces pain intensity;
  • improves blood circulation and tissue nutrition.

We do not have common treatment standards, an individual approach is applied to each patient. Only a highly qualified specialist should be trusted to perform manual therapy. Otherwise, the use of inappropriate techniques can only harm the patient, aggravate the problem or cause the development of complications.


Physiotherapy procedures are used to improve the effectiveness of therapy. They present exclusively outside the acute period and have an analgesic, anti-inflammatory effect, in addition to improving the soft tissue microcirculation, in addition to contributing to the normalization of muscle tone.

Courses from 8 to 15 procedures are generally prescribed. They can be:

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

The number of sessions of physiotherapy procedures and the frequency of their implementation are selected by the physician individually. Some procedures can be combined with each other, while others must be performed strictly within a certain interval.

exercise therapy

Physiotherapy is one of the essential components of conservative therapy for neck pain. Since they often occur in the context of muscle overvoltage and degenerative-dystrophic processes in the intervertebral discs caused by this, it is important to pay due attention to exercise therapy and daily exercises.

For each patient, a physical therapy exercise program is developed separately by a rehabilitation physician. It can be dangerous to use the complexes presented on the Internet, since they do not take into account the individual characteristics of the patient, his age, the degree of neglect of the pathological process and the level of physical fitness of the patient. Therefore, to develop an exercise therapy program, the help of a specialist is required. In addition, the first sessions are necessarily carried out under his control, so that the patient can understand how to perform each exercise and, in the process of independent studies, is not harmed. At home, you should practice in a calm environment, avoiding sudden movements and, if pain occurs, you should consult a doctor.

Therefore, neck pain is widespread. They can be caused by the development of various diseases, but most of the time the base of the discomfort is the spinal problems caused by sedentariness. Therefore, you should not hesitate to consult a doctor. In fact, in the early stages of the disease's development, it can be easily treated with conservative methods. In advanced cases, neck pain and its causes can be eliminated exclusively by surgery.