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What Does Severe Neck Pain Indicate?

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Posted on Fri, 13 Oct 2017
Question: I have a severe pain on the side of my neck especially when I turn my head
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Answered by Dr. Ishu Bishnoi (19 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Neck pain - causes, treatment and need more information

Detailed Answer:
Hi Jsalome, thanks for asking from HCM.


I can understand your concern. The neck pain due to movement can be due to various reasons like

- Neck muscular spasm - Spasm of trapezius or sternocleidomastoid or paraspinal or scalenae muscles can cause pain. It will aggravate on turning neck, pressing sore muscle, if exposed to cold.

- Bony pain - Cervical vertebral disease like arthritis, craniovertebral anomalies, fracture, fused vertebrae can cause such pain.

- Torticolis - It means permanent neck tilt on any side. It can be due to various causes like muscular/bony/neuropathic. In torticolis, if patient tries to correct posture or move neck, there is pain.

- Radiculopathy - Cervical spondylosis can cause pain on flexing neck or lifting weight over head. The pain will occur in neck and radiates to upper limb.

- Local inflammation or injury - Inflammation can cause sore skin. On moving neck, it causes stretching of skin and generates pain.

As you can read, there are so many causes. I need more information about your neck pain to differentiate between above causes, like

- What is the site of pain over neck?

- What is the duration of pain?

- On which movement there is pain, like flexion/extension/right-left turn? Is pain on same side or opposite to movement?

- Is there any local tenderness?

- Is there any history of direct injury/pillow use/sleeping in prone position?

- Is there any pain radiation to upper limb, vertigo, more symptoms on neck flexion?

If you can provide me answers of these questions, I will be able to help you more. Till then for relief, you can

- Use diclofenac gel local application at pain site. Don't use it if there is redness

- Use local site hot compresses if no inflammation or acute injury.

- For pain relief, you can take tablet diclofenac after prescription.

- If local tenderness, gentle massage of neck will also help.

Rest treatment can be prescribed after reaching at some diagnosis.
Hope it will help. If having any doubts, do let me know.
Thanks. Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D
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Answered by
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Dr. Ishu Bishnoi

Neurologist, Surgical

Practicing since :2007

Answered : 901 Questions

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What Does Severe Neck Pain Indicate?

Brief Answer: Neck pain - causes, treatment and need more information Detailed Answer: Hi Jsalome, thanks for asking from HCM. I can understand your concern. The neck pain due to movement can be due to various reasons like - Neck muscular spasm - Spasm of trapezius or sternocleidomastoid or paraspinal or scalenae muscles can cause pain. It will aggravate on turning neck, pressing sore muscle, if exposed to cold. - Bony pain - Cervical vertebral disease like arthritis, craniovertebral anomalies, fracture, fused vertebrae can cause such pain. - Torticolis - It means permanent neck tilt on any side. It can be due to various causes like muscular/bony/neuropathic. In torticolis, if patient tries to correct posture or move neck, there is pain. - Radiculopathy - Cervical spondylosis can cause pain on flexing neck or lifting weight over head. The pain will occur in neck and radiates to upper limb. - Local inflammation or injury - Inflammation can cause sore skin. On moving neck, it causes stretching of skin and generates pain. As you can read, there are so many causes. I need more information about your neck pain to differentiate between above causes, like - What is the site of pain over neck? - What is the duration of pain? - On which movement there is pain, like flexion/extension/right-left turn? Is pain on same side or opposite to movement? - Is there any local tenderness? - Is there any history of direct injury/pillow use/sleeping in prone position? - Is there any pain radiation to upper limb, vertigo, more symptoms on neck flexion? If you can provide me answers of these questions, I will be able to help you more. Till then for relief, you can - Use diclofenac gel local application at pain site. Don't use it if there is redness - Use local site hot compresses if no inflammation or acute injury. - For pain relief, you can take tablet diclofenac after prescription. - If local tenderness, gentle massage of neck will also help. Rest treatment can be prescribed after reaching at some diagnosis. Hope it will help. If having any doubts, do let me know. Thanks. Take care.