Skip to Main Content


Neck pain is a common complaint. The prevalance is approximately 75% to 80% in the U. S. population. The neck is composed of many pain-sensitive tissues in a small area, including tendons, ligaments, muscle insertions, vertabrae, zygopophyseal joints, nerve roots, nerves, and plexi. The cervical spine is mobile and situated between an immobile thorax and a relatively weighty head; therefore, it is subject to varying degrees of trauma with body movement. Neck pain ranges from minor self-limited aches to severe pain associated with signs and symptoms of nerve root impingement. Patients with minor neck pain may not consult a physician. Those who see a primary care physician often can be helped by conservative management. A patient with severe chronic symptoms may be best served in a comprehensive pain management clinic. Treatment options can range from the conservative (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation [TENS] unit, physical therapy and stretching) to the interventional (facet joint injection and cervical nerve root block). In all cases, a knowledge of the anatomy and the etiology of neck pain is required for definitive treatment.


Ideally, the cause of a patient’s neck pain is determined by a careful history, physical examination, appropriate radiologic and laboratory tests, and diagnostic nerve blocks.1 It is vital to be aware of the more serious disorders that can cause neck pain and that require urgent referral to a specialist. Table 27-1 lists many causes of neck pain.

Table Graphic Jump Location
Table 27-1 Classification of Neck Pain

Want remote access to your institution's subscription?

Sign in to your MyAccess profile while you are actively authenticated on this site via your institution (you will be able to verify this by looking at the top right corner of the screen - if you see your institution's name, you are authenticated). Once logged in to your MyAccess profile, you will be able to access your institution's subscription for 90 days from any location. You must be logged in while authenticated at least once every 90 days to maintain this remote access.


About MyAccess

If your institution subscribes to this resource, and you don't have a MyAccess profile, please contact your library's reference desk for information on how to gain access to this resource from off-campus.

Subscription Options

AccessAnesthesiology Full Site: One-Year Subscription

Connect to the full suite of AccessAnesthesiology content and resources including procedural videos, interactive self-assessment, real-life cases, 20+ textbooks, and more

$995 USD
Buy Now

Pay Per View: Timed Access to all of AccessAnesthesiology

24 Hour Subscription $34.95

Buy Now

48 Hour Subscription $54.95

Buy Now

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.