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Neck Pain

Neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways is one of the most common complaints in the general population. Depending on symptom duration, it can be acute, subacute, or chronic. There are many causes of neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, including degenerative disease, trauma, rheumatologic disease, and infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease. Musculoskeletal conditions can range in severity from simple strain to radiculopathy Radiculopathy Disease involving a spinal nerve root which may result from compression related to intervertebral disk displacement; spinal cord injuries; spinal diseases; and other conditions. Clinical manifestations include radicular pain, weakness, and sensory loss referable to structures innervated by the involved nerve root. Rheumatoid Arthritis and myelopathy. A careful history and physical examination is essential in discovering the etiology and guiding therapy. Treatment of the majority of cases of neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways is conservative and activity-based.

Last updated: 6 Jul, 2021

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Epidemiology and Etiology

Epidemiology

Neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways is a common symptom presenting to medical providers.

  • The majority of adults develop neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways at some point in their lifetime.
  • Prevalence Prevalence The total number of cases of a given disease in a specified population at a designated time. It is differentiated from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency increases in middle age
  • One of the leading causes of disability Disability Determination of the degree of a physical, mental, or emotional handicap. The diagnosis is applied to legal qualification for benefits and income under disability insurance and to eligibility for social security and workman’s compensation benefits. ABCDE Assessment

Risk factors

  • Occupation (repetitive work)
  • Ergonomics
  • Depression
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Previous history of trauma to the neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess
  • Smoking Smoking Willful or deliberate act of inhaling and exhaling smoke from burning substances or agents held by hand. Interstitial Lung Diseases
  • Genetic predisposition (Turner and Down syndromes)
  • Concomitant lower back pain Back pain Back pain is a common complaint among the general population and is mostly self-limiting. Back pain can be classified as acute, subacute, or chronic depending on the duration of symptoms. The wide variety of potential etiologies include degenerative, mechanical, malignant, infectious, rheumatologic, and extraspinal causes. Back Pain
  • Rheumatic diseases

Etiology

Musculoskeletal conditions:

  • Cervical strain, which can occur from:
    • Injury to cervical muscles
    • Poor posture
    • Sleeping habits
  • Cervical spondylosis Spondylosis A degenerative spinal disease that can involve any part of the vertebra, the intervertebral disk, and the surrounding soft tissue. Central Cord Syndrome (nonspecific term for degenerative changes Degenerative Changes Spinal Stenosis of the spine Spine The human spine, or vertebral column, is the most important anatomical and functional axis of the human body. It consists of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae and is limited cranially by the skull and caudally by the sacrum. Vertebral Column: Anatomy)
  • Cervical discogenic pain Discogenic Pain Spinal Disk Herniation (from disc degeneration)
  • Whiplash injury (an acceleration– deceleration Deceleration A decrease in the rate of speed. Blunt Chest Trauma injury resulting from acute extension Extension Examination of the Upper Limbs and flexion Flexion Examination of the Upper Limbs of the neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess)
  • Myofascial pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways syndrome
  • Cervical radiculopathy Radiculopathy Disease involving a spinal nerve root which may result from compression related to intervertebral disk displacement; spinal cord injuries; spinal diseases; and other conditions. Clinical manifestations include radicular pain, weakness, and sensory loss referable to structures innervated by the involved nerve root. Rheumatoid Arthritis
    • Dysfunction of the spinal nerve root from inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation, compression Compression Blunt Chest Trauma, or damage
    • May be caused by: 
      • Degenerative disease (e.g., foraminal stenosis Stenosis Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), herniated disc)
      • Trauma
      • Nerve root infarction or avulsion
      • Tumor Tumor Inflammation
      • Infection (e.g., herpes zoster Herpes Zoster Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a linear, double-stranded DNA virus in the Herpesviridae family. Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) is more common in adults and occurs due to the reactivation of VZV. Varicella-Zoster Virus/Chickenpox, Lyme disease Lyme disease Lyme disease is a tick-borne infection caused by the gram-negative spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is transmitted by the black-legged Ixodes tick (known as a deer tick), which is only found in specific geographic regions. Patient presentation can vary depending on the stage of the disease and may include a characteristic erythema migrans rash. Lyme Disease)
  • Cervical spondylotic myelopathy 
    • Spinal cord Spinal cord The spinal cord is the major conduction pathway connecting the brain to the body; it is part of the CNS. In cross section, the spinal cord is divided into an H-shaped area of gray matter (consisting of synapsing neuronal cell bodies) and a surrounding area of white matter (consisting of ascending and descending tracts of myelinated axons). Spinal Cord: Anatomy dysfunction or injury
    • Causes are similar to those for cervical radiculopathy Radiculopathy Disease involving a spinal nerve root which may result from compression related to intervertebral disk displacement; spinal cord injuries; spinal diseases; and other conditions. Clinical manifestations include radicular pain, weakness, and sensory loss referable to structures innervated by the involved nerve root. Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Atlantoaxial subluxation Subluxation Radial Head Subluxation (Nursemaid’s Elbow) or instability, which is usually associated with:
    • Rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a symmetric, inflammatory polyarthritis and chronic, progressive, autoimmune disorder. Presentation occurs most commonly in middle-aged women with joint swelling, pain, and morning stiffness (often in the hands). Rheumatoid Arthritis
    • Down syndrome Down syndrome Down syndrome, or trisomy 21, is the most common chromosomal aberration and the most frequent genetic cause of developmental delay. Both boys and girls are affected and have characteristic craniofacial and musculoskeletal features, as well as multiple medical anomalies involving the cardiac, gastrointestinal, ocular, and auditory systems. Down syndrome (Trisomy 21)

Nonmusculoskeletal conditions:

  • Cardiovascular disease:
    • Angina
    • MI MI MI is ischemia and death of an area of myocardial tissue due to insufficient blood flow and oxygenation, usually from thrombus formation on a ruptured atherosclerotic plaque in the epicardial arteries. Clinical presentation is most commonly with chest pain, but women and patients with diabetes may have atypical symptoms. Myocardial Infarction
  • Infection:
    • Meningitis Meningitis Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, the protective membranes of the brain, and spinal cord. The causes of meningitis are varied, with the most common being bacterial or viral infection. The classic presentation of meningitis is a triad of fever, altered mental status, and nuchal rigidity. Meningitis
    • Epidural abscess Epidural abscess Circumscribed collections of suppurative material occurring in the spinal or intracranial epidural space. The majority of epidural abscesses occur in the spinal canal and are associated with osteomyelitis of a vertebral body; analgesia, epidural; and other conditions. Clinical manifestations include local and radicular pain, weakness, sensory loss, urinary incontinence, and fecal incontinence. Cranial epidural abscesses are usually associated with osteomyelitis of a cranial bone, sinusitis, or otitis media. Retropharyngeal Abscess
    • Discitis
    • Osteomyelitis Osteomyelitis Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone that results from the spread of microorganisms from the blood (hematogenous), nearby infected tissue, or open wounds (non-hematogenous). Infections are most commonly caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Osteomyelitis
  • Neurologic:
    • Tension headaches Tension headaches Tension headache is the most common of the primary primary headache disorders and one of the most common disorders presenting for medical evaluation worldwide. Tension headaches are generally described as bilateral, nonthrobbing, and of mild to moderate severity. There is no aura or other associated features. Tension Headaches
    • Chiari malformations Chiari Malformations Chiari malformations (CMs) are a group of central nervous system (CNS) conditions characterized by the underdevelopment of the posterior cranial fossa with subsequent protrusion of neural structures through the foramen magnum. Chiari Malformations
  • Rheumatologic disease:
    • Polymyalgia rheumatica Polymyalgia rheumatica A syndrome in the elderly characterized by proximal joint and muscle pain, high erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and a self-limiting course. Pain is usually accompanied by evidence of an inflammatory reaction. Women are affected twice as commonly as men and caucasians more frequently than other groups. The condition is frequently associated with giant cell arteritis and some theories pose the possibility that the two diseases arise from a single etiology or even that they are the same entity. Giant Cell Arteritis
    • Rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a symmetric, inflammatory polyarthritis and chronic, progressive, autoimmune disorder. Presentation occurs most commonly in middle-aged women with joint swelling, pain, and morning stiffness (often in the hands). Rheumatoid Arthritis
    • Ankylosing spondylitis Ankylosing spondylitis Ankylosing spondylitis (also known as Bechterew’s disease or Marie-Strümpell disease) is a seronegative spondyloarthropathy characterized by chronic and indolent inflammation of the axial skeleton. Severe disease can lead to fusion and rigidity of the spine. Ankylosing Spondylitis
    • Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by widespread body pain, chronic fatigue, mood disturbance, and cognitive disturbance. It also presents with other comorbid symptoms such as migraine headaches, depression, sleep disturbance, and irritable bowel syndrome. Fibromyalgia
    • Giant cell arteritis Giant Cell Arteritis Giant cell arteritis (GCA), also known as temporal arteritis, is a type of large-vessel vasculitis that predominantly affects the aorta and its major branches, with a predilection for the branches of the carotid (including the temporal artery). Giant cell arteritis is defined by inflammatory leukocytes in the vessel walls leading to reactive damage, ischemia, and necrosis. Giant Cell Arteritis should be considered in a patient with: 
      • Neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
      • Headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess
      • Jaw Jaw The jaw is made up of the mandible, which comprises the lower jaw, and the maxilla, which comprises the upper jaw. The mandible articulates with the temporal bone via the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The 4 muscles of mastication produce the movements of the TMJ to ensure the efficient chewing of food. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy claudication
      • Associated visual changes
  • Malignancy Malignancy Hemothorax
  • Thoracic outlet Thoracic Outlet Thoracic Outlet Syndrome syndrome ( TOS TOS Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a broad term used for a spectrum of syndromes related to the general region of the thoracic outlet, which involves the compression or irritation of elements of the brachial plexus, subclavian artery, or subclavian vein. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome)
  • Vertebral artery Vertebral artery The first branch of the subclavian artery with distribution to muscles of the neck; vertebrae; spinal cord; cerebellum; and interior of the cerebrum. Lateral Medullary Syndrome (Wallenberg Syndrome) dissection
  • GI:
    • Biliary disease
    • Esophageal disease

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Clinical Presentation

Classification

Neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways may be classified on the basis of the duration of symptoms:

  • Acute: symptoms persist for < 6 weeks
  • Subacute: symptoms persist for ≤ 3 months
  • Chronic: symptoms persist for > 3 months

History

  • Pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways characteristics:
    • Onset and duration
    • Pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways quality Quality Activities and programs intended to assure or improve the quality of care in either a defined medical setting or a program. The concept includes the assessment or evaluation of the quality of care; identification of problems or shortcomings in the delivery of care; designing activities to overcome these deficiencies; and follow-up monitoring to ensure effectiveness of corrective steps. Quality Measurement and Improvement
    • Severity
    • Exacerbating and relieving factors
    • Radiation Radiation Emission or propagation of acoustic waves (sound), electromagnetic energy waves (such as light; radio waves; gamma rays; or x-rays), or a stream of subatomic particles (such as electrons; neutrons; protons; or alpha particles). Osteosarcoma
  • Important associated symptoms:
    • Numbness
    • Paresthesia
    • Muscle weakness
    • Headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess
  • Review of systems (examples, list is not exhaustive):
    • Fevers or chills Chills The sudden sensation of being cold. It may be accompanied by shivering. Fever → infection
    • Weight loss Weight loss Decrease in existing body weight. Bariatric Surgery malignancy Malignancy Hemothorax
    • Vision Vision Ophthalmic Exam changes → giant cell arteritis Giant Cell Arteritis Giant cell arteritis (GCA), also known as temporal arteritis, is a type of large-vessel vasculitis that predominantly affects the aorta and its major branches, with a predilection for the branches of the carotid (including the temporal artery). Giant cell arteritis is defined by inflammatory leukocytes in the vessel walls leading to reactive damage, ischemia, and necrosis. Giant Cell Arteritis
    • Difficulty swallowing Swallowing The act of taking solids and liquids into the gastrointestinal tract through the mouth and throat. Gastrointestinal Motility or pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways with swallowing Swallowing The act of taking solids and liquids into the gastrointestinal tract through the mouth and throat. Gastrointestinal Motility → esophageal disorders
    • Chest pain Chest Pain Chest pain is one of the most common and challenging complaints that may present in an inpatient and outpatient setting. The differential diagnosis of chest pain is large and includes cardiac, gastrointestinal, pulmonary, musculoskeletal, and psychiatric etiologies. Chest Pain → angina or MI MI MI is ischemia and death of an area of myocardial tissue due to insufficient blood flow and oxygenation, usually from thrombus formation on a ruptured atherosclerotic plaque in the epicardial arteries. Clinical presentation is most commonly with chest pain, but women and patients with diabetes may have atypical symptoms. Myocardial Infarction
    • Rash Rash Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever herpes zoster Herpes Zoster Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a linear, double-stranded DNA virus in the Herpesviridae family. Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) is more common in adults and occurs due to the reactivation of VZV. Varicella-Zoster Virus/Chickenpox
    • Bowel or bladder Bladder A musculomembranous sac along the urinary tract. Urine flows from the kidneys into the bladder via the ureters, and is held there until urination. Pyelonephritis and Perinephric Abscess incontinence → spinal cord Spinal cord The spinal cord is the major conduction pathway connecting the brain to the body; it is part of the CNS. In cross section, the spinal cord is divided into an H-shaped area of gray matter (consisting of synapsing neuronal cell bodies) and a surrounding area of white matter (consisting of ascending and descending tracts of myelinated axons). Spinal Cord: Anatomy compression Compression Blunt Chest Trauma or myelopathy
  • Recent trauma
  • Past medical history Past Medical History Adult Health Maintenance 
    • Arthritis Arthritis Acute or chronic inflammation of joints. Osteoarthritis
    • Rheumatologic disease
    • Malignancy Malignancy Hemothorax
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Osteoporosis Osteoporosis Osteoporosis refers to a decrease in bone mass and density leading to an increased number of fractures. There are 2 forms of osteoporosis: primary, which is commonly postmenopausal or senile; and secondary, which is a manifestation of immobilization, underlying medical disorders, or long-term use of certain medications. Osteoporosis
    • Surgeries
    • Immunosuppression
    • IV drug use

Mnemonic

Important open-ended questions to ask when evaluating a patient with pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways can be remembered with:

  • O: onset
  • P: provocation and palliation
  • Q: quality Quality Activities and programs intended to assure or improve the quality of care in either a defined medical setting or a program. The concept includes the assessment or evaluation of the quality of care; identification of problems or shortcomings in the delivery of care; designing activities to overcome these deficiencies; and follow-up monitoring to ensure effectiveness of corrective steps. Quality Measurement and Improvement of the pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
  • R: radiation Radiation Emission or propagation of acoustic waves (sound), electromagnetic energy waves (such as light; radio waves; gamma rays; or x-rays), or a stream of subatomic particles (such as electrons; neutrons; protons; or alpha particles). Osteosarcoma (or region)
  • S: severity
  • T: timing

Physical examination

Basic examination:

Special tests and signs:

  • Lhermitte’s sign: 
    • Test for cervical myelopathy
    • Passive or active flexion Flexion Examination of the Upper Limbs of the neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess produces sharp, electric sensation down the arms or spine Spine The human spine, or vertebral column, is the most important anatomical and functional axis of the human body. It consists of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae and is limited cranially by the skull and caudally by the sacrum. Vertebral Column: Anatomy.
  • Hoffmann sign:
  • Spurling test Spurling Test Spinal Disk Herniation ( neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess compression Compression Blunt Chest Trauma test):
    • Assesses for cervical radiculopathy Radiculopathy Disease involving a spinal nerve root which may result from compression related to intervertebral disk displacement; spinal cord injuries; spinal diseases; and other conditions. Clinical manifestations include radicular pain, weakness, and sensory loss referable to structures innervated by the involved nerve root. Rheumatoid Arthritis by compressing the affected nerve root
    • Perform with care to avoid further injury.
    • Avoid performing in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with Lhermitte’s sign
    • Procedure:
      • Patient’s neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess is extended and rotated to one side
      • Downward force is applied to the top of the patient’s head
      • Radiation Radiation Emission or propagation of acoustic waves (sound), electromagnetic energy waves (such as light; radio waves; gamma rays; or x-rays), or a stream of subatomic particles (such as electrons; neutrons; protons; or alpha particles). Osteosarcoma of pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways to the ipsilateral upper extremity indicates a positive test

Red flag signs Red Flag Signs Primary vs Secondary Headaches and symptoms

The following symptoms suggest serious pathology and should elicit an urgent evaluation:

  • Lower-extremity weakness
  • Gait Gait Manner or style of walking. Neurological Examination disturbance
  • Bowel or bladder Bladder A musculomembranous sac along the urinary tract. Urine flows from the kidneys into the bladder via the ureters, and is held there until urination. Pyelonephritis and Perinephric Abscess dysfunction
  • Fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss Weight loss Decrease in existing body weight. Bariatric Surgery
  • Positive Lhermitte’s sign

Diagnosis

The differential diagnoses related to neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways is vast and can be narrowed on the basis of the history and physical examination.

Imaging studies

  • Imaging studies are considered, or indicated, in the following clinical scenarios:
    • Associated acute trauma
    • Serious or progressive neurologic findings
    • Constitutional signs and symptoms
    • History of malignancy Malignancy Hemothorax
    • Infectious Infectious Febrile Infant risk factors: 
      • IV drug abuse
      • Immunosuppression 
    • Positive Lhermitte’s sign
    • Persistent neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways not responding to appropriate therapy
  • Plain X-rays X-rays X-rays are high-energy particles of electromagnetic radiation used in the medical field for the generation of anatomical images. X-rays are projected through the body of a patient and onto a film, and this technique is called conventional or projectional radiography. X-rays can evaluate for:
    • Degenerative changes Degenerative Changes Spinal Stenosis
    • Disc height loss
    • Malalignment
    • Fractures
    • Cervical spine Spine The human spine, or vertebral column, is the most important anatomical and functional axis of the human body. It consists of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae and is limited cranially by the skull and caudally by the sacrum. Vertebral Column: Anatomy instability
  • CT:
    • Method of choice for fracture Fracture A fracture is a disruption of the cortex of any bone and periosteum and is commonly due to mechanical stress after an injury or accident. Open fractures due to trauma can be a medical emergency. Fractures are frequently associated with automobile accidents, workplace injuries, and trauma. Overview of Bone Fractures detection during trauma evaluations
    • Evaluation of bony anatomy and fractures
  • MRI to evaluate abnormalities of: 
    • Soft tissues
    • Intervertebral discs
    • Spinal cord Spinal cord The spinal cord is the major conduction pathway connecting the brain to the body; it is part of the CNS. In cross section, the spinal cord is divided into an H-shaped area of gray matter (consisting of synapsing neuronal cell bodies) and a surrounding area of white matter (consisting of ascending and descending tracts of myelinated axons). Spinal Cord: Anatomy
    • Nerve roots

Additional studies

  • Electromyography Electromyography Recording of the changes in electric potential of muscle by means of surface or needle electrodes. Becker Muscular Dystrophy and nerve conduction studies: 
    • Not routinely necessary 
    • Often used in evaluation for peripheral neuropathy Neuropathy Leprosy
  • Laboratory studies are indicated only when looking for additional pathology
    • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate Soft Tissue Abscess and CRP → inflammatory conditions, infection
    • Rheumatologic evaluation (if appropriate)
    • CBC → leukocytosis Leukocytosis A transient increase in the number of leukocytes in a body fluid. West Nile Virus may indicate infection
    • Troponin → myocardial ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage

Comparison of diagnoses

The following table compares the clinical and diagnostic clues for some common musculoskeletal conditions manifesting with neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways.

Table: Comparison of diagnostic clues for common musculoskeletal conditions causing neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
Condition Clinical features Diagnosis
Cervical strain
  • Neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
  • Stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Tenderness on palpation Palpation Application of fingers with light pressure to the surface of the body to determine consistency of parts beneath in physical diagnosis; includes palpation for determining the outlines of organs. Dermatologic Examination of the neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess and trapezius muscles
  • Provocative maneuvers for cervical radiculopathy Radiculopathy Disease involving a spinal nerve root which may result from compression related to intervertebral disk displacement; spinal cord injuries; spinal diseases; and other conditions. Clinical manifestations include radicular pain, weakness, and sensory loss referable to structures innervated by the involved nerve root. Rheumatoid Arthritis are negative.
Clinical
Cervical spondylosis Spondylosis A degenerative spinal disease that can involve any part of the vertebra, the intervertebral disk, and the surrounding soft tissue. Central Cord Syndrome
  • Pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways is primarily chronic and mechanical in nature.
  • Headaches
  • With or without neurologic symptoms
  • May be associated with cervical radiculopathy Radiculopathy Disease involving a spinal nerve root which may result from compression related to intervertebral disk displacement; spinal cord injuries; spinal diseases; and other conditions. Clinical manifestations include radicular pain, weakness, and sensory loss referable to structures innervated by the involved nerve root. Rheumatoid Arthritis or myelopathy
  • Physical exam varies depending on severity of the degenerative process.
  • Clinical
  • Degenerative findings on imaging
Whiplash injury
  • Clinical
  • Imaging studies (if indicated) to rule out other pathology
Cervical radiculopathy Radiculopathy Disease involving a spinal nerve root which may result from compression related to intervertebral disk displacement; spinal cord injuries; spinal diseases; and other conditions. Clinical manifestations include radicular pain, weakness, and sensory loss referable to structures innervated by the involved nerve root. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Cervical myelopathy
  • Progressive neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
  • Gait Gait Manner or style of walking. Neurological Examination dysfunction
  • Extremity weakness
  • Vibratory/ proprioception Proprioception Sensory functions that transduce stimuli received by proprioceptive receptors in joints, tendons, muscles, and the inner ear into neural impulses to be transmitted to the central nervous system. Proprioception provides sense of stationary positions and movements of one’s body parts, and is important in maintaining kinesthesia and postural balance. Neurological Examination abnormalities
  • Bowel and bladder Bladder A musculomembranous sac along the urinary tract. Urine flows from the kidneys into the bladder via the ureters, and is held there until urination. Pyelonephritis and Perinephric Abscess dysfunction
  • Upper motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology neuron findings
  • Positive Lhermitte’s sign
MRI showing:
  • Cervical spinal cord Spinal cord The spinal cord is the major conduction pathway connecting the brain to the body; it is part of the CNS. In cross section, the spinal cord is divided into an H-shaped area of gray matter (consisting of synapsing neuronal cell bodies) and a surrounding area of white matter (consisting of ascending and descending tracts of myelinated axons). Spinal Cord: Anatomy compression Compression Blunt Chest Trauma
  • Changes in the spinal cord Spinal cord The spinal cord is the major conduction pathway connecting the brain to the body; it is part of the CNS. In cross section, the spinal cord is divided into an H-shaped area of gray matter (consisting of synapsing neuronal cell bodies) and a surrounding area of white matter (consisting of ascending and descending tracts of myelinated axons). Spinal Cord: Anatomy
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal Spinal Canal The cavity within the spinal column through which the spinal cord passes. Spinal Cord Injuries

Management

Early management of neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways focuses on proper initial evaluation, early return of motion, pain management Pain Management Pain is defined as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. Pain is a subjective experience. Acute pain lasts < 3 months and typically has a specific, identifiable cause. Pain Management, and judicious use of physical therapy Physical Therapy Becker Muscular Dystrophy.

Management after major trauma

  • Backboard, rigid cervical collar
  • Airway Airway ABCDE Assessment, breathing, and circulation Circulation The movement of the blood as it is pumped through the cardiovascular system. ABCDE Assessment (ABC) assessment
  • Referral for immediate emergency care

Conservative measures

Conservative measures are usually used in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship without major trauma or red flag findings.

General treatment:

  • Education and reassurance Reassurance Clinician–Patient Relationship
  • Postural improvements and modifications
  • Avoidance of aggravating factors 
  • Sleep Sleep A readily reversible suspension of sensorimotor interaction with the environment, usually associated with recumbency and immobility. Physiology of Sleep position recommendations
  • Heat Heat Inflammation or cold therapy (whichever relieves discomfort) for pain management Pain Management Pain is defined as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. Pain is a subjective experience. Acute pain lasts < 3 months and typically has a specific, identifiable cause. Pain Management

Physical and movement therapy:

  • Home therapy exercises: 
    • ROM
    • Stretching
    • Postural
  • Aerobic exercise (e.g., walking)
  • Physical therapy Physical Therapy Becker Muscular Dystrophy: essential in the management of neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways and avoidance of chronic neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
  • Manual therapy or manipulation
  • Consider mind–body exercises: 
    • Tai chi
    • Yoga

Pharmacologic measures

  • Acetaminophen Acetaminophen Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter nonopioid analgesic and antipyretic medication and the most commonly used analgesic worldwide. Despite the widespread use of acetaminophen, its mechanism of action is not entirely understood. Acetaminophen 
  • NSAIDs NSAIDS Primary vs Secondary Headaches (caution in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with gastric ulcer Gastric ulcer Ulceration of the gastric mucosa due to contact with gastric juice. It is often associated with Helicobacter pylori infection or consumption of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Peptic Ulcer Disease disease, heart disease, and renal disease)
  • Muscle relaxants:
    • Controversial
    • Lack of quality Quality Activities and programs intended to assure or improve the quality of care in either a defined medical setting or a program. The concept includes the assessment or evaluation of the quality of care; identification of problems or shortcomings in the delivery of care; designing activities to overcome these deficiencies; and follow-up monitoring to ensure effectiveness of corrective steps. Quality Measurement and Improvement evidence
    • Avoid long-term use
  • Tramadol Tramadol A narcotic analgesic proposed for severe pain. It may be habituating. Opioid Analgesics
    • Potential additive effect when used with acetaminophen Acetaminophen Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter nonopioid analgesic and antipyretic medication and the most commonly used analgesic worldwide. Despite the widespread use of acetaminophen, its mechanism of action is not entirely understood. Acetaminophen
    • Avoid long-term use
  • Duloxetine Duloxetine A thiophene derivative and selective neurotransmitter uptake inhibitor for serotonin and noradrenaline (SNRI). It is an antidepressant agent and anxiolytic, and is also used for the treatment of pain in patients with diabetes mellitus and fibromyalgia. Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Similar Antidepressants, gabapentin Gabapentin A cyclohexane-gamma-aminobutyric acid derivative that is used for the treatment of partial seizures; neuralgia; and restless legs syndrome. Second-Generation Anticonvulsant Drugs, or tricyclic antidepressants Tricyclic antidepressants Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are a class of medications used in the management of mood disorders, primarily depression. These agents, named after their 3-ring chemical structure, act via reuptake inhibition of neurotransmitters (particularly norepinephrine and serotonin) in the brain. Tricyclic Antidepressants for patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship for whom the above therapy fails.
  • Systemic or epidural steroids Steroids A group of polycyclic compounds closely related biochemically to terpenes. They include cholesterol, numerous hormones, precursors of certain vitamins, bile acids, alcohols (sterols), and certain natural drugs and poisons. Steroids have a common nucleus, a fused, reduced 17-carbon atom ring system, cyclopentanoperhydrophenanthrene. Most steroids also have two methyl groups and an aliphatic side-chain attached to the nucleus. Benign Liver Tumors 
    • May be considered in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with radicular pain Radicular Pain Spinal Disk Herniation
    • Controversial
    • Lack of quality Quality Activities and programs intended to assure or improve the quality of care in either a defined medical setting or a program. The concept includes the assessment or evaluation of the quality of care; identification of problems or shortcomings in the delivery of care; designing activities to overcome these deficiencies; and follow-up monitoring to ensure effectiveness of corrective steps. Quality Measurement and Improvement evidence
  • Opiates Opiates Opiates are drugs that are derived from the sap of the opium poppy. Opiates have been used since antiquity for the relief of acute severe pain. Opioids are synthetic opiates with properties that are substantially similar to those of opiates. Opioid Analgesics are rarely indicated.

Interventional therapies

The following may be considered in association with pain management Pain Management Pain is defined as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. Pain is a subjective experience. Acute pain lasts < 3 months and typically has a specific, identifiable cause. Pain Management and/or physical medicine and rehabilitation:

  • Acupuncture
  • Dry needling
  • Trigger-point injections
  • Cervical medial branch blocks
  • Percutaneous neurotomy

Surgical interventions

  • Rarely indicated in nonradicular neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways 
  • Success rates higher for patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with radicular pain Radicular Pain Spinal Disk Herniation or myelopathic disease
  • Early surgical referral is indicated for: 
    • Significant muscle weakness
    • Fractures
    • Myelopathy

Clinical Relevance

  • Osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, and is due to cartilage destruction and changes of the subchondral bone. The risk of developing this disorder increases with age, obesity, and repetitive joint use or trauma. Patients develop gradual joint pain, stiffness lasting < 30 minutes, and decreased range of motion. Osteoarthritis: cause of cervical spondylosis Spondylosis A degenerative spinal disease that can involve any part of the vertebra, the intervertebral disk, and the surrounding soft tissue. Central Cord Syndrome; due to cartilage Cartilage Cartilage is a type of connective tissue derived from embryonic mesenchyme that is responsible for structural support, resilience, and the smoothness of physical actions. Perichondrium (connective tissue membrane surrounding cartilage) compensates for the absence of vasculature in cartilage by providing nutrition and support. Cartilage: Histology destruction and changes of the subchondral bone Subchondral Bone Osteochondritis Dissecans. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, and is due to cartilage destruction and changes of the subchondral bone. The risk of developing this disorder increases with age, obesity, and repetitive joint use or trauma. Patients develop gradual joint pain, stiffness lasting < 30 minutes, and decreased range of motion. Osteoarthritis develop gradual joint pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, stiffness lasting < 30 minutes, and decreased ROM. Physical exam may reveal crepitus Crepitus Osteoarthritis with joint motion. The diagnosis is clinical and supported with radiographic joint findings. Management includes conservative measures, analgesic medications, glucocorticoid intraarticular injections, and surgery for advanced disease.
  • Herniated disc: prolapse of an intervertebral disc Intervertebral disc Any of the 23 plates of fibrocartilage found between the bodies of adjacent vertebrae. Vertebral Column: Anatomy through the annulus fibrosus Annulus Fibrosus Spinal Disk Herniation, which can lead to irritation and impingement on an adjacent nerve root and result in radiculopathy Radiculopathy Disease involving a spinal nerve root which may result from compression related to intervertebral disk displacement; spinal cord injuries; spinal diseases; and other conditions. Clinical manifestations include radicular pain, weakness, and sensory loss referable to structures innervated by the involved nerve root. Rheumatoid Arthritis. Symptoms of herniated disc include pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, paresthesias Paresthesias Subjective cutaneous sensations (e.g., cold, warmth, tingling, pressure, etc.) that are experienced spontaneously in the absence of stimulation. Posterior Cord Syndrome, and weakness, depending on the severity of nerve involvement. Imaging will demonstrate disc protrusion. Management includes conservative measures, analgesics, physical therapy Physical Therapy Becker Muscular Dystrophy, and surgery for severe disease.
  • Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by widespread body pain, chronic fatigue, mood disturbance, and cognitive disturbance. It also presents with other comorbid symptoms such as migraine headaches, depression, sleep disturbance, and irritable bowel syndrome. Fibromyalgia: nonarticular, noninflammatory disorder that causes chronic pain Chronic pain Aching sensation that persists for more than a few months. It may or may not be associated with trauma or disease, and may persist after the initial injury has healed. Its localization, character, and timing are more vague than with acute pain. Pain Management. Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by widespread body pain, chronic fatigue, mood disturbance, and cognitive disturbance. It also presents with other comorbid symptoms such as migraine headaches, depression, sleep disturbance, and irritable bowel syndrome. Fibromyalgia is poorly understood, but causes widespread muscle tenderness, including the neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess. The diagnosis is clinical, and management focuses on stress relief, optimizing sleep Sleep A readily reversible suspension of sensorimotor interaction with the environment, usually associated with recumbency and immobility. Physiology of Sleep, mental health treatment, and nonopioid analgesics.
  • Myofascial pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways syndrome: muscle pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways disorder that is similar to fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by widespread body pain, chronic fatigue, mood disturbance, and cognitive disturbance. It also presents with other comorbid symptoms such as migraine headaches, depression, sleep disturbance, and irritable bowel syndrome. Fibromyalgia. However, the pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways in myofascial pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways syndrome is typically localized to 1 anatomic region (such as the neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess). The diagnosis is based on the presence of trigger Trigger The type of signal that initiates the inspiratory phase by the ventilator Invasive Mechanical Ventilation points. Management can include physical therapy Physical Therapy Becker Muscular Dystrophy, massage, and nonopioid analgesics.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a symmetric, inflammatory polyarthritis and chronic, progressive, autoimmune disorder. Presentation occurs most commonly in middle-aged women with joint swelling, pain, and morning stiffness (often in the hands). Rheumatoid Arthritis: autoimmune disease of the joints that causes an inflammatory and destructive arthritis Destructive Arthritis Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Atlantoaxial subluxation Subluxation Radial Head Subluxation (Nursemaid’s Elbow) is common in rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a symmetric, inflammatory polyarthritis and chronic, progressive, autoimmune disorder. Presentation occurs most commonly in middle-aged women with joint swelling, pain, and morning stiffness (often in the hands). Rheumatoid Arthritis and can cause neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess and shoulder stiffness, radiculopathy Radiculopathy Disease involving a spinal nerve root which may result from compression related to intervertebral disk displacement; spinal cord injuries; spinal diseases; and other conditions. Clinical manifestations include radicular pain, weakness, and sensory loss referable to structures innervated by the involved nerve root. Rheumatoid Arthritis, and myelopathy. Diagnosis is based on the clinical picture, inflammatory markers, rheumatoid factor Rheumatoid factor Antibodies found in adult rheumatoid arthritis patients that are directed against gamma-chain immunoglobulins. Autoimmune Hepatitis ( RF RF Rheumatoid Arthritis), and anti–cyclic citrullinated peptides (CCPs). Management starts with glucocorticoids Glucocorticoids Glucocorticoids are a class within the corticosteroid family. Glucocorticoids are chemically and functionally similar to endogenous cortisol. There are a wide array of indications, which primarily benefit from the antiinflammatory and immunosuppressive effects of this class of drugs. Glucocorticoids, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs are antiinflammatory medications used to manage rheumatoid arthritis. The medications slow, but do not cure, the progression of the disease. The medications are classified as either synthetic or biologic agents and each has unique mechanisms of action and side effects. Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) ( DMARDs DMARDs Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs are antiinflammatory medications used to manage rheumatoid arthritis. The medications slow, but do not cure, the progression of the disease. The medications are classified as either synthetic or biologic agents and each has unique mechanisms of action and side effects. Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)), and NSAIDs NSAIDS Primary vs Secondary Headaches.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis Ankylosing spondylitis Ankylosing spondylitis (also known as Bechterew’s disease or Marie-Strümpell disease) is a seronegative spondyloarthropathy characterized by chronic and indolent inflammation of the axial skeleton. Severe disease can lead to fusion and rigidity of the spine. Ankylosing Spondylitis: seronegative spondyloarthropathy Spondyloarthropathy Ankylosing Spondylitis characterized by chronic and indolent inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of the axial Axial Computed Tomography (CT) skeleton. Severe disease can lead to fusion and rigidity Rigidity Continuous involuntary sustained muscle contraction which is often a manifestation of basal ganglia diseases. When an affected muscle is passively stretched, the degree of resistance remains constant regardless of the rate at which the muscle is stretched. This feature helps to distinguish rigidity from muscle spasticity. Megacolon of the spine Spine The human spine, or vertebral column, is the most important anatomical and functional axis of the human body. It consists of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae and is limited cranially by the skull and caudally by the sacrum. Vertebral Column: Anatomy. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with ankylosing spondylitis Ankylosing spondylitis Ankylosing spondylitis (also known as Bechterew’s disease or Marie-Strümpell disease) is a seronegative spondyloarthropathy characterized by chronic and indolent inflammation of the axial skeleton. Severe disease can lead to fusion and rigidity of the spine. Ankylosing Spondylitis will have progressive neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess and low back pain Back pain Back pain is a common complaint among the general population and is mostly self-limiting. Back pain can be classified as acute, subacute, or chronic depending on the duration of symptoms. The wide variety of potential etiologies include degenerative, mechanical, malignant, infectious, rheumatologic, and extraspinal causes. Back Pain (which improves with activity), morning stiffness, and decreased ROM of the spine Spine The human spine, or vertebral column, is the most important anatomical and functional axis of the human body. It consists of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae and is limited cranially by the skull and caudally by the sacrum. Vertebral Column: Anatomy. The diagnosis is based on the clinical history, physical exam, and imaging. Most patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship are treated with physical therapy Physical Therapy Becker Muscular Dystrophy and NSAIDs NSAIDS Primary vs Secondary Headaches.
  • Giant cell arteritis Giant Cell Arteritis Giant cell arteritis (GCA), also known as temporal arteritis, is a type of large-vessel vasculitis that predominantly affects the aorta and its major branches, with a predilection for the branches of the carotid (including the temporal artery). Giant cell arteritis is defined by inflammatory leukocytes in the vessel walls leading to reactive damage, ischemia, and necrosis. Giant Cell Arteritis: large-vessel vasculitis Vasculitis Inflammation of any one of the blood vessels, including the arteries; veins; and rest of the vasculature system in the body. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus that predominantly affects the aorta Aorta The main trunk of the systemic arteries. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy and its major branches, with a predilection for the branches of the carotid (including the temporal artery). Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with giant cell arteritis Giant Cell Arteritis Giant cell arteritis (GCA), also known as temporal arteritis, is a type of large-vessel vasculitis that predominantly affects the aorta and its major branches, with a predilection for the branches of the carotid (including the temporal artery). Giant cell arteritis is defined by inflammatory leukocytes in the vessel walls leading to reactive damage, ischemia, and necrosis. Giant Cell Arteritis can have headaches, neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, jaw Jaw The jaw is made up of the mandible, which comprises the lower jaw, and the maxilla, which comprises the upper jaw. The mandible articulates with the temporal bone via the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The 4 muscles of mastication produce the movements of the TMJ to ensure the efficient chewing of food. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, and vision Vision Ophthalmic Exam problems. The diagnosis is made with temporal artery biopsy Biopsy Removal and pathologic examination of specimens from the living body. Ewing Sarcoma. Prompt treatment with glucocorticoids Glucocorticoids Glucocorticoids are a class within the corticosteroid family. Glucocorticoids are chemically and functionally similar to endogenous cortisol. There are a wide array of indications, which primarily benefit from the antiinflammatory and immunosuppressive effects of this class of drugs. Glucocorticoids can relieve symptoms and prevent vision Vision Ophthalmic Exam loss.
  • Thoracic outlet Thoracic Outlet Thoracic Outlet Syndrome syndrome: caused by the compression Compression Blunt Chest Trauma of the neurovascular structures at the thoracic outlet Thoracic Outlet Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, especially those passing through the interscalene triangle. Signs and symptoms can include upper-extremity, shoulder, or neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways and paresthesias Paresthesias Subjective cutaneous sensations (e.g., cold, warmth, tingling, pressure, etc.) that are experienced spontaneously in the absence of stimulation. Posterior Cord Syndrome. The diagnosis is made with clinical exam, imaging, and electrodiagnostic testing. Management generally includes physical therapy Physical Therapy Becker Muscular Dystrophy and analgesics.
  • Epidural abscess Epidural abscess Circumscribed collections of suppurative material occurring in the spinal or intracranial epidural space. The majority of epidural abscesses occur in the spinal canal and are associated with osteomyelitis of a vertebral body; analgesia, epidural; and other conditions. Clinical manifestations include local and radicular pain, weakness, sensory loss, urinary incontinence, and fecal incontinence. Cranial epidural abscesses are usually associated with osteomyelitis of a cranial bone, sinusitis, or otitis media. Retropharyngeal Abscess: accumulation of pus in the epidural space Epidural space Space between the dura mater and the walls of the vertebral canal. Epidural Hemorrhage. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with an epidural abscess Epidural abscess Circumscribed collections of suppurative material occurring in the spinal or intracranial epidural space. The majority of epidural abscesses occur in the spinal canal and are associated with osteomyelitis of a vertebral body; analgesia, epidural; and other conditions. Clinical manifestations include local and radicular pain, weakness, sensory loss, urinary incontinence, and fecal incontinence. Cranial epidural abscesses are usually associated with osteomyelitis of a cranial bone, sinusitis, or otitis media. Retropharyngeal Abscess may have back or neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways (depending on the location) and fevers. Neurologic dysfunction can occur if the abscess Abscess Accumulation of purulent material in tissues, organs, or circumscribed spaces, usually associated with signs of infection. Chronic Granulomatous Disease compresses the spinal cord Spinal cord The spinal cord is the major conduction pathway connecting the brain to the body; it is part of the CNS. In cross section, the spinal cord is divided into an H-shaped area of gray matter (consisting of synapsing neuronal cell bodies) and a surrounding area of white matter (consisting of ascending and descending tracts of myelinated axons). Spinal Cord: Anatomy. MRI will confirm the diagnosis. Treatment includes antibiotics and aspiration of the abscess Abscess Accumulation of purulent material in tissues, organs, or circumscribed spaces, usually associated with signs of infection. Chronic Granulomatous Disease. Surgery is necessary in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with neurologic dysfunction.

References

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  2. Kaji, A. (2019). Evaluation and initial management of cervical spinal column injuries in adults. In Moreira, M.E. (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved June 15, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/evaluation-and-initial-management-of-cervical-spinal-column-injuries-in-adults
  3. Robinson, J. et al. (2020). Clinical features and diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy. In Shefner, J.M. (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved June 15, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-features-and-diagnosis-of-cervical-radiculopathy
  4. Robinson, J. et al. (2021). Treatment and prognosis of cervical radiculopathy. In Shefner, J.M. (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved June 15, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/treatment-and-prognosis-of-cervical-radiculopathy
  5. Levin, K. (2020). Cervical spondylotic myelopathy. In Aminoff, M.J. (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved June 15, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/cervical-spondylotic-myelopathy
  6. Binder, A. (2005). Neck pain. American Family Physician 71:117–118. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2005/0101/p117.html
  7. Childress, M.A., and Stuek, S.J. (2020). Neck pain: Initial evaluation and management. American Family Physician. 102(3):150-156. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2020/0801/p150.html
  8. Teichtahl, A.J., McColl, G. (2013). An approach to neck pain for the family physician. Australian Family Physician 42:774–777. https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2013/november/neck-pain/
  9. Moley, P.J. (2020). Evaluation of neck and back pain. MSD Manual Professional Version. Retrieved June 23, 2021, from https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/musculoskeletal-and-connective-tissue-disorders/neck-and-back-pain/evaluation-of-neck-and-back-pain
  10. Freeman, M.D. (2021). Cervical sprain and strain. In Lorenzo, C.T. (Ed.), Medscape. Retrieved June 23, 2021, from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/306176-overview

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