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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Medical Symptoms > Neck Pain

Neck Pain

Alternate Names : Cervical Pain

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Neck pain is a fairly common complaint with many possible causes.

What is going on in the body?

Many people have had mild neck pain from time to time that goes away in a day or two. In some cases, however, neck pain can persist or be more severe. The causes of neck pain range from mild to life threatening.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Neck pain has many possible causes, including:

  • arthritis, or bony inflammation in the part of the spine located in the neck, usually due to osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause neck pain.
  • bone infections, known as osteomyelitis
  • Paget's disease, which causes bone deformities
  • a bulging or ruptured disk in the spine located in the neck, sometimes called cervical disk disease
  • muscle strain, such as occurs during whiplash or from lifting heavy objects
  • a broken or dislocated bone in the neck, such as in the spine
  • a pinched nerve in the neck, which may occur after sleeping in the wrong position or with overuse or misuse of the neck muscles
  • cancer or a tumor, such as from cancer in the thyroid gland, breast cancer, or lung cancer that spreads into the neck
  • referred pain, which is pain that comes from another part of the body. For instance, neck pain can occur with a heart attack or heartburn, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease.
  • infections in the neck, such as a group A streptococcal infection of the throat. Ear infections, such as acute otitis media, and a viral infection of the thyroid gland, called subacute thyroiditis, are other causes.
  • psychological causes, such as anxiety, depression, or psychosis
  • Other causes are also possible. Sometimes no cause can be found.


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    Neck Pain: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Date Reviewed: 06/07/01

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