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Can Neck Pain Be a Sign of Disease?

Can Neck Pain Be a Sign of Disease?

John S. Michels, MD, is a former pro athlete and award-winning pain management physician in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. 

He is well-known for blending advanced medical treatments such as regenerative medicine therapies with a practical, patient-first approach to controlling pain that’s structured to meet your needs.

What diseases and conditions cause neck pain?

Neck pain may be related to a serious viral or bacterial infection such as meningitis or a spinal tumor that’s compressing sensitive nerves. But these conditions are less common and are often accompanied by other signs and symptoms, such as a high fever, nausea, vomiting, and confusion with meningitis.

Most often, though, neck pain is the result of musculoskeletal disorders that may include:

Muscle strain

Poor posture, too much screen time, certain sports activities, the wrong pillow, reading in bed, or habitually grinding your teeth as you sleep can all strain muscles in your neck and shoulders.

Degenerative disease

Normally caused by osteoarthritis (cervical spondylosis), degenerative changes in the cervical spine often cause neck pain, which may be related to:

Rheumatoid arthritis or conditions such as osteoporosis can also cause changes in the spine that result in neck pain.

Whiplash injury

A whiplash injury occurs when your head is suddenly jerked backward and forward, which strains the muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissues in the neck. 

Whiplash can occur during a rear-end auto collision but may also result from a fall, sports injury, or blow that causes a forceful jerking motion of your head.

When should I worry about neck pain?

Neck pain related to a simple muscle strain often improves over a couple of days with rest, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, and other home remedies such as gentle heat.

But Dr. Michels encourages people to schedule a visit if they develop pain that:

He also recommends individuals who have known degenerative changes in the spine to schedule a visit if they develop new or worsening pain.

How do you treat neck pain?

Dr. Michels starts with a thorough exam that may include diagnostic X-rays and other advanced studies such as spinal cord pain mapping to help pinpoint the underlying cause of your pain.

Depending on what the evaluation reveals, he may recommend:

These treatments are designed to relieve pain while you proceed with guided physical therapy, activity modification, and other conservative therapies that promote long-term symptom relief and help prevent future episodes of neck pain.

For more information about the services Dr. Michels offers to reduce or eliminate pain and restore your mobility, schedule a visit today. Call the office or request an appointment online.

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