Neck pain (cervical pain) may be caused by any number of disorders and diseases. Tenderness is another symptom of neck pain. Though treatment for neck pain really depends upon the cause, treatment typically may involve heat/ice application, traction, physical therapy, cortisone injection, topical anesthetic creams, and muscle relaxants. Read more: Neck Pain (Cervical Pain) Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment
What is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Learn about juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Discover rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms,...
Neck Pain: Causes and Treatment for Relief
What causes chronic neck pain? If you have poor posture, bad sleep habits, or spine problems, these issues can lead to a stiff...
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Exercises Slideshow: Joint-Friendly Fitness Routines
Regular exercise boosts fitness and helps reverse joint stiffness for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Our experts offer...
Osteoarthritis (OA): Treatment, Symptoms, Diagnosis
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease affecting both cartilage and bone. Joints most often affected by...
What Does It Mean When Your Whole Body Aches?
Body aches are a symptom of the flu, arthritis, autoimmune disease, infections like Lyme disease, and other conditions. Body pain...
Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain
Learn about osteoarthritis and exercises that relieve knee osteoarthritis pain, stiffness and strengthen the knee joint and...
What Is Spinal Stenosis? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
Spinal stenosis causes back pain, leg pain, difficulty walking and clumsiness. Learn the symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis and...
The Best Sleep Position for Your Health
What is the best sleep position? Learn ways to say good night to back pain, neck pain, snoring, arthritis, and airway...
Related Disease Conditions
Headaches can be divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. Migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches are considered primary headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by disease. Headache symptoms vary with the headache type. Over-the-counter pain relievers provide short-term relief for most headaches.
Swollen Lymph Nodes (Glands)
Lymph nodes help the body's immune system fight infections. Causes of swollen lymph nodes (glands) may include infection (viral, bacterial, fungal, parasites). Symptoms of swollen lymph nodes vary greatly, but may include fever, night sweats, toothache, sore throat, or weight loss. Causes of swollen lymph nodes also vary, but may include cancer, the common cold, mono, chickenox, HIV, and herpes. The treatment of swollen lymph nodes depends upon the cause.
Shoulder and Neck Pain
Shoulder and neck pain may be caused by bursitis, a pinched nerve, whiplash, tendinitis, a herniated disc, or a rotator cuff injury. Symptoms also include weakness, numbness, coolness, color changes, swelling, and deformity. Treatment at home may incorporate resting, icing, and elevating the injury. A doctor may prescribe pain medications and immobilize the injury.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as well as other organs in the body. Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease. The 16 characteristic early RA signs and symptoms include the following. Anemia Both sides of the body affected (symmetric) Depression Fatigue Fever Joint deformity Joint pain Joint redness Joint stiffness Joint swelling Joint tenderness Joint warmth Limping Loss of joint function Loss of joint range of motion Many joints affected (polyarthritis)
Internal bleeding occurs when an artery or vein is damaged and blood to escapes the circulatory system and collects inside the body. Internal bleeding can be caused by a variety of situations such as blunt trauma, deceleration trauma, medications, fractures, and spontaneous bleeding. Treatment of internal bleeding depends on the cause of the bleeding.
Dizziness is a symptom that often applies to a variety of sensations including lightheadedness and vertigo. Causes of dizziness include low blood pressure, heart problems, anemia, dehydration, and other medical conditions. Treatment of dizziness depends on the cause.
Pinched Nerve (Symptoms, Locations, Causes, Treatment, and Prognosis)
A pinched nerve causes pain, numbness, or tingling in the affected area due to pressure on a nerve. Carpal tunnel and sciatica are two examples of conditions caused by a pinched nerve. A pinched nerve is diagnosed by taking a patient history and performing a physical examination. Electromyography may be performed. Treatment for a pinched nerve depends on the underlying cause.
Occipital Neuralgia (Headache)
Occipital neuralgia is a type of headache that involves inflammation or irritation of occipital nerves. Signs and symptoms include a stabbing and throbbing head pain, and an aching pain in the upper back of the head and neck. Potential causes include infection, irritation, or trauma of the occipital nerves. This type of headache is diagnosed by physical examination findings and imaging tests. Treatment involves a multidisciplinary approach that includes massage, rest, physical therapy, heat, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Invasive procedures and even surgery may be considered if first-line treatments fail to bring relief from the chronic pain of this type of headache.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes chronic inflammation of the spine. The tendency to develop ankylosing spondylitis is genetically inherited. Treatment incorporates medications, physical therapy, and exercise.
A herniated disc may be caused by injury or degeneration from age. Symptoms depend on the location of the herniation and whether nerve tissue is being irritated. An MRI or CT scan is performed to diagnose a herniated disc. Treatment may involve physical therapy, cortisone injection, pain medications, anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, and surgery.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and tender points. Stress reduction, exercise, and medication are the standard treatments for fibromyalgia.
Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a disorder of the muscles and joints that causes pain and stiffness in the arms, neck, shoulders, and buttocks. Treatment for polymyalgia rheumatica aims to reduce inflammation with aspirin, ibuprofen, and low doses of cortisone medications.
Pain management and treatment can be simple or complex, according to its cause. There are two basic types of pain, nociceptive pain and neuropathic pain. Some causes of neuropathic pain include: complex regional pain syndrome, interstitial cystitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. There are a variety of methods to treat chronic pain, which are dependant on the type of pain experienced.
There are four major types of thyroid cancer: papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. Tumors on the thyroid are referred to as thyroid nodules. Symptoms of thyroid cancer include swollen lymph nodes, pain in the throat, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, and a lump near the Adam's apple. Treatment usually involves chemotherapy, surgery, radioactive iodine, hormone treatment or external radiation and depends upon the type of thyroid cancer, the patient's age, the tumor size, and whether the cancer has metastasized.
Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone. Potential causes include injections around the bone, fractures that puncture the skin, recent surgeries, and bacterial infections that travel from other areas of the body, spreading through the blood to the bone. Symptoms include pain, fever, chills, stiffness, and nausea. Treatment involves antibiotics and pain medications. Surgery is sometimes necessary.
Degenerative Disc Disease & Sciatica
Degenerative disc disease makes the disc more susceptible to herniation (rupture) which can lead to localized or radiating pain. The pain from degenerative disc or joint disease of the spine is usually treated conservatively with intermittent heat, rest, rehabilitative exercises and medications to relieve pain, muscle spasm and inflammation.
Swallowing Problems (Dysphagia)
Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing, swallowing problems. Dysphagia is due to problems in nerve or muscle control. It is common, for example, after a stroke. Dysphagia compromises nutrition and hydration and may lead to aspiration pneumonia and dehydration.
Chronic pain is pain (an unpleasant sense of discomfort) that persists or progresses over a long period of time. In contrast to acute pain that arises suddenly in response to a specific injury and is usually treatable, chronic pain persists over time and is often resistant to medical treatments.
Whiplash is a common injury to a person's neck following a car accident (in most cases). Symptoms include: headache, neck pain, neck and shoulder stiffness, shoulder pain, fatigue, dizziness, jaw pain, arm pain, weakness of the arm(s), visual disturbances, and tinnitus. Diagnosis is generally with a physical exam, X-rays, or possibly an MRI. Treatment generally includes physical therapy and time.
Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis
Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH or Forestier's disease) is a form of degenerative arthritis. It is characterized by calcification along the sides of the vertebrae of the spine. Symptoms include stiffness and pain in the upper and lower back. Anti-inflammatory medications are used to treat DISH.
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs and Ulcers
Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are prescribed medications for the treatment of inflammatory conditions. Examples of NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and more. One common side effect of NSAIDs is peptic ulcer (ulcers of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum). Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and patient safety information should be reviewed prior to taking NSAIDs.
Head and Neck Cancer
Head and neck cancer is cancer of the oral cavity, salivary glands, paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, or lymph nodes in the upper part of the neck. These cancers account for 3% to 5% of cancers in the U.S. Tobacco and alcohol use are important risk factors. Treatment may involve surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy.
Neck Pain and Dizziness
Neck pain is any degree of discomfort in the front or back of the neck between the head and the shoulders. Dizziness is characterized as either vertigo with disequilibrium or lightheadedness associated with feeling faint or the potential to lose consciousness. Causes of neck pain and dizziness vary, and treatment depends on the cause. With any unexplained or persisting neck pain or dizziness, consult with a health care professional, who can determine whether the symptoms are harmless and temporary or serious and threatening.
Balamuthia mandrillarisis is an ameba that lives in dust and soil. Signs and symptoms of Balamuthia include fever, nausea and vomiting, light sensitivity, headache, stiff neck, and headaches. There are various diagnostic tests and medications that treat Balamuthia infection.
Osteoarthritis vs. Osteoporosis Differences and Similarities
Arthritis is defined as painful inflammation and joint stiffness. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis and the most common cause of chronic joint pain, affecting over 25 million Americans. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that involves the entire joint. Osteoporosis is not a type of arthritis. It is a disease that mainly is caused by a loss of bone tissue that is not limited to the joint areas. It is possible for one person to have both osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. The differences in the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis include; pain, stiffness, and joint swelling, joint deformity, crackle sounds when the joint is moving, and walking with a limp. Osteoporosis is called the "silent disease" because it can progress for years without signs and symptoms before it is diagnosed, severe back pain, bone fractures, height loss, and difficulty or inability to walk. The differences in the causes of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are that osteoarthritis usually is caused by wear and tear on the joints. Osteoporosis usually is caused by one or more underlying problems, for example, calcium and vitamin D deficiencies. Treatment for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are not the same. There is no cure for osteoarthritis or osteoporosis.
Local ResourcesFind a local Orthopedic Surgeon in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Cortisone Injection
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan)
- Trigger Point Injection
- Epidural Steroid Injection
- Electromyogram (EMG)
- CT Scan (Computerized Tomography)
- Nerve Conduction Velocity Test
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
- Discogram (Discography)
- Is Cervical Laminectomy a Major Surgery?
- Swollen Lymph Nodes (Lymphadenopathy)
- Lower Back Pain
- Neck Pain (Cervicalgia)
- Shoulder Pain
- Chronic Pain
- How to Choose a Doctor
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- Doctor: Getting the Most from Your Doctor's Appointment
- Chronic Pain: Dealing With Back and Neck Pain
- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine: What is it?
- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine: Effectiveness
- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine: Indications
- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine: Success
- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine: Side Effects
- Chondroitin Sulfate &Glucosamine: Proper Use
- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine: Other Use
- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine: Benefits
- Chondroitin & Glucosamine & NSAID's
- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine: Supervision
- Vertigo, Not an Easy Diagnosis
- Doctors Answer Pain Questions
- What Is Cervical Osteoarthritis?
- Is Surgery Necessary for Neck Pain after a Car Accident?
- Can Costochondritis Swelling Extend to the Neck & Back?
- What Is a Clay-Shoveler's Fracture?
Medications & Supplements
- Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)
- Oxycodone vs. Tramadol for Pain
- Acetaminophen vs. Ibuprofen for Pain (Differences in Side Effects and Dosage)
- acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
- aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid, Bayer, Ecotrin, and others)
- tramadol (Ultram)
- naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
- codeine (for Pain)
- Pain Medications (Narcotics)
- Oxycodone vs. Hydrocodone
- Ibuprofen (Advil) vs. Naproxen (Aleve): Comparison of Differences
- celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Oxycodone vs. Codeine
- Cox-2 Inhibitors
- Oxycodone for Pain (OxyContin, Roxicodone, Oxecta, Oxaydo, Xtampza ER, Roxybond)
- cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril, Amrix, Fexmid)
- hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin, Norco)
- Oxycodone vs. Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) for Pain
- Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen, Roxicet, Tylox, Oxycet)
- Baclofen vs. Flexeril (Side Effects and Interactions)
- Aspirin vs. NSAIDs (Side Effect and Use Differences)
- Aleve (naproxen) vs. Celebrex (celecoxib)
- Ketorolac vs. ibuprofen (Advil)
- hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Hydrocodone vs. Hydromorphone (Differences between Side Effects)
- Percocet vs. Lortab
- Tramadol (Ultram) Side Effects
- Ketorolac vs. tramadol
- carisoprodol (Soma)
- flurbiprofen (Ansaid)
- Ketorolac vs. diclofenac
- Tylenol (acetaminophen) Side Effects, Warnings, and Interactions
- hydrocodone and ibuprofen, Vicoprofen
- hydrocodone (Zohydro ER)
- Ketorolac vs. naproxen (Aleve)
- fenoprofen (Nalfon)
- Ultram (tramadol) Side Effects, Warnings, and Interactions
- choline magnesium salicylate, Trilisate
Prevention & Wellness
- Back and Neck Pain Top U.S. Health Care Spending
- Virtual Reality Can Bring Real-Life Pain
- Windy, Humid Days Could Bring More Pain
- The Alexander Technique: What Could It Do for You?
- Easy Neck Stretches for Tension Relief
- How to Head Off a Pain in the Neck
- Opioid Rxs Decreasing, But Not for All Doctors
- Upbeat Attitude May Be a Pain Fighter
- Little Evidence Pain Creams Work
- Why Do More and More Americans Use Medical Marijuana?
- 'Mindfulness' Might Help Some Conquer Chronic Pain
- Flu May Up the Odds of Stroke, Neck Artery Tears
- Could Neck-Strengthening Prevent Some Concussions?
- Opioids May Help Chronic Pain, But Not Much
- Physical Therapy Can Help You Avoid Opioids When Joint Pain Strikes
- How to Avoid Suitcase Strain This Holiday Season
- FDA Approves Powerful New Opioid Despite Criticisms
- 1 in 12 Americans Lives With Debilitating Chronic Pain
- Avoid 'Text Neck' From Your Cellphone
- One Man Got a Nasty Surprise From World's Hottest Chili Pepper
- 'Moderate' Precancerous Cervical Lesions May Not Need Treatment: Study
- Health Tip: Sit and Stand Up Straight
- Electrical Pulses May Ease Pain From 'Slipped' Disc
- As Many as 1 in 3 Experience New or Worse Pain With Yoga
- Health Tip: When to Worry About Neck Pain
- Tattoo Artists Risk Serious Pain in the Neck
- Study Ties Some Migraines to Artery Tears in Neck, Raising Stroke Risk
- Health Tip: Keep Neck Pain in Check
- Diabetes Takes Biggest Bite Out of U.S. Health Care Spending
- Review Suggests Safe, Effective Ways to Relieve Pain Without Meds
- FDA: Opioids Plus Sedatives Pose Fatal OD Risk
- Add Neck Problems to Reasons Not to Smoke
- Acupuncture May Ease Neck Pain Over Long Term
- Health Tip: Easing Neck Pain at Night
- Rugby Takes Toll on Spine, Scans Show
- World's Population Is Getting Sicker, Study Shows
- Could Chiropractic Manipulation of Your Neck Trigger a Stroke?
- Timing Is Key to Massage's Benefits for Neck Pain: Study
- 'Extreme Sports' Linked to 40,000 Head and Neck Injuries Per Year
- Most Crash Victims Don't Plan to Sue: Study
- FDA Approves New Drug to Treat COPD
- Health Tip: Coping With Neck Pain
- Steady Rise in Thyroid Cancer Not Explained by Better Screening, Study Says
- New Tool May Help Identify Deadly Brain Bleed
- Docs Order Too Many Narcotics, Pricey Scans for Back Pain: Study
- Injuries From Ocean Waves More Common Than Thought
- Health Tip: If You Have Neck Pain
- Health Tip: If You Wake With Neck Pain
- Meningitis Outbreak Toll Now 23 Dead, 297 Sickened: CDC
- Meningitis Outbreak Toll Now 23 Dead, 284 Sickened: CDC
- Pain Level After Car Crash Could Depend on Your Genes, Studies Say
- Soaring U.S. Spinal Care Spending Due to Specialists: Study
- Acupuncture Pain Relief Is Real, Researchers Say
- Lower-Dose Radioiodine Effective Against Thyroid Cancer
- Health Tip: Manage the Pain of a Neck Sprain
- Gloves, Padded Headgear Helps Protect Boxers
- Health Tip: A Sprain in the Neck
- Experts Offer Tips on Avoiding iPad-Linked Shoulder, Neck Strain
- Women May Feel More Pain Than Men
- Narrowed Artery Condition Often Goes Undiagnosed: Study
- Surgery Seems Most Effective for Herniated Discs
- Health Tip: Is My Neck Pain Serious?
- Spinal Manipulation, Home Exercise May Ease Neck Pain
- Health Tip: Got a Pain in the Neck?
- Americans Are Flocking to Alternative Therapies
- Health Tip: Ease Neck Pain
- Health Tip: What May Trigger Neck Pain
- Health Tip: Getting Help for Neck Pain
- Laser Therapy Seems to Relieve Neck Pain
- Strength Training Eases Chronic Neck Pain
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter