Important: The information in this section cannot be used for self-diagnosis and self-medication. In case of pain or other worsening of the disease, only the attending physician should prescribe diagnostic tests. For a diagnosis and proper treatment, consult your doctor.
Neck pain - the causes of the appearance, with which diseases it occurs, the diagnosis and methods of treatment. Nearly two-thirds of people have experienced neck pain at least once in their lives - cervicalgia. Such pain does not always indicate a serious illness. However, if relapse occurs more and more often, this may be a wake-up call.
Variants of pain
Conditionally, the causes of cervicalgia are divided into two groups:
- as a result of diseases of the spine (herniated intervertebral discs, arthrosis, dysfunction of the intervertebral joint) and subluxation of the vertebrae (whiplash). The consequences of such injuries can manifest throughout life;
- due to other causes: infectious and endocrine diseases, tumor processes, arthritis.
Prolonged overload of the neck muscles, sprains, hypothermia leads to pain, which is of moderate intensity and short duration. At the same time, there is often a restriction of the movement of the head and a cramp in the cervical muscles, where seals and tenderness are felt when pressed.
As a rule, pain in myofascial syndrome disappears on its own within a few days.
Osteochondrosis of the cervix
Osteochondrosis is a degenerative-dystrophic lesion of the spine that occurs as a result of deformation and destruction of the intervertebral discs. Loss of elasticity, compression and destruction of discs lead to overload of the intervertebral (facet) joints, osteoarthritis, pinched nerve roots and pain. With age, the distance between the vertebrae decreases due to dehydration of cartilage, causing damage to the intervertebral joints and ligaments.
Damage to the structure of the intervertebral or facet joint is one of the most common causes of pain in the neck.
Thinning of cartilage on the joint surfaces leads to the appearance of bone growth - osteophytes. They narrow the lumen of the intervertebral foramen and squeeze the nerve endings. As a rule, dull pain (gradually increasing, with low intensity) occurs, especially in the morning after sleeping in an uncomfortable position (on a high pillow, in an inclined position). As you move, it rises, and at rest it weakens. The pain may radiate to the back of the head, ear, temple, or shoulder.
Herniated and protruding intervertebral discs
Compression of the intervertebral discs that have lost their elasticity leads to their protrusion (protrusion) in the spinal canal and the subsequent formation of a hernia.
As a result, the spinal cord is compressed, leading to decreased hand sensitivity (numbness, burning, weakness) and pain. Shooting pain (irregular unilateral) is intensified when the head is tilted, turned, or thrown back so that the person instinctively tilts the head forward and to the opposite side of the location of pain.
Prolonged compression of a spinal cord hernia leads to decreased cerebrospinal circulation.
Painful sensations occur not only in the neck, but also radiate between the shoulder blades of the shoulders. They increase with movement and do not stop even after taking painkillers. Typical signs are the appearance of goosebumps, numbness in the limbs, problems with fine motor skills. Dizziness, impaired memory, gait changes are possible.
Whiplash injury in the cervical spine occurs in a person with a sharp bend of the neck forward or backward, followed by recoil in the opposite direction. Such injuries most often occur in road traffic accidents. In this case, stretching and damage to muscles, ligaments, intervertebral discs and uterine vertebrae occur. In the most severe cases, displacements and fractures of the uterine vertebrae occur.
The consequences of trauma can be pain in the cervical spine and shoulders, migraines, spasms in the neck muscles and reduced mobility.
Concomitant symptoms include blurred vision, fatigue and headache.
Neck pain due to muscle tonic syndromes
Muscle-tonic syndrome is a condition caused by prolonged cramping in several muscle groups in the head, neck and chest. Compression of the neurovascular bundles leads to tension, sometimes severe pain. In particular, the scale muscle syndrome is a symptom complex in which the innervation and blood supply of the scales muscles in the neck, which run from the cervical vertebrae to the first and second ribs, are disturbed. This syndrome is characterized by pain and stiffness in the neck, often in the morning, a certain position of the head (the head is tilted forward and slightly against the tense muscle). The pain may be mild, excruciating, but sometimes sharp, worse at night with a deep breath when the head is tilted towards the healthy side. Sometimes pain is transferred to the shoulders, to axillary and interscapular regions, to the anterior chest.
Neck pain from other causes
Persistent and prolonged neck pain can not only be caused by diseases of the spine, but above all, infectious diseases should be ruled out, especially non-specific or tuberculous spondylitis, epidural abscess. Persistent pain that intensifies rather than diminishes at rest may be a sign of metastatic lesions in the vertebrae. These symptoms are accompanied by an increase in body temperature, general weakness and sweating. When one presses on the spinous processes, local pain occurs.
Defeat of the spine is possible with rheumatoid arthritis. In an early stage of the disease, pain usually occurs in the neck, neck and head. The pain can radiate to the forehead and eye sockets and increase with bending and turning of the head. Loss of sensitivity in the neck and arms.
Diagnostics and examinations
First of all, the doctor draws attention to clinical symptoms: localization and spread of pain, decreased sensitivity in the neck, shoulders, arms, decreased reflexes, general condition, the nature of the pain (increases with movement or at rest).
The doctor may prescribe:
- general blood test.