What are the signs of neck problems?

Neck symptoms are symptoms that lead to pain or discomfort in the neck, not including the throat. Such symptoms mainly affect the nerves, muscles, immune system (including the lymph nodes), and skin of the neck. The neck is a vital anatomic crossroads and it consists of the cervical spine and spinal cord, nerves, intervertebral discs, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, in addition to the windpipe (trachea), esophagus, and blood vessels.

Neck symptoms can arise from many causes. Some of the most common are injury to the neck, muscle strain, or tension, often caused by poor posture. Neck symptoms may also result from infection or inflammation. A variety of other conditions or disorders, most of which are rare, can also result in neck pain and discomfort.

For mild neck pain related to tension or muscle aches, over-the-counter pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs may help alleviate neck symptoms. Stretching, massage, hot or cold compresses, and improving posture may also improve mild neck discomfort.

In more serious cases, medical intervention may be required to treat the cause of your neck symptoms. If your neck symptoms are related to infection or minor injury, medical treatment will generally resolve symptoms.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for symptoms of spinal cord injury, such as the inability to move your neck, limbs, fingers or toes. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have fever, headache, and a stiff neck, or if you experience difficulty breathing, as these may be signs of meningitis, an infection or inflammation of the sac around the brain and spinal cord.

If your neck symptoms are persistent or cause you concern, seek prompt medical care. Seek medical care if you experience any numbness or tingling, appear to have symptoms related to an injury, or if neck pain is interfering with your sleep and daily activities.


What other symptoms might occur with neck symptoms?

Neck symptoms may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.

Injury-related symptoms that may occur along with neck symptoms

Neck symptoms may accompany other symptoms resulting from an injury including:

  • Bleeding
  • Broken bones
  • Damaged airway (trachea)

What causes neck symptoms?

Neck symptoms are frequently related to muscle tension, often due to repetitive use or bad posture. Neck symptoms can also arise from infections, ranging in severity from the common cold to serious conditions such as meningitis.

Neck symptoms can also be due to an injury or a condition such as whiplash, herniated (bulging or slipped) disc, or spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the sp... Read more about neck symptomscauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 6, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Ear, Nose and Throat

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