One of the most frequent presentations to a pain management physician is a complaint of neck pain. Sources of neck pain include direct injury, trauma, whiplash, facet joint disease, disc degeneration or herniation, arthritis, post surgical pain or referred pain (such as pain associated with a heart attack). Neck pain may represent as a dull, sharp, aching, burning, cramping, electric, or stabbing pain, which may also be associated decrease range of motion and pain radiating to the arm and hand or associated headache. If there is a pinched nerve, neurologic symptoms include burning pain, numbness and weakness may be experienced in the arm in the distribution that the affected nerve supplies.
The workup includes a comprehensive history and physical exam. Diagnostic test and imaging such as x-rays, MRI’s, Electordiagnostic studies (EMG/NCV), lab tests, diagnostic injections/procedures will help identify the source of the neck pain and any associated symptoms. A treatment regimen is then implemented based on the disease process.