In many cases, an instance of neck pain isn’t a cause for concern, as it can often resolve without any medical treatment. However, if you notice your pain becoming persistent, or chronic, it’s important to seek your doctor’s opinion. This is because there are a number of warning signs that your neck pain might actually indicate the presence of a serious medical condition. In New Jersey and New York, IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics specializes in such conditions and explores these warning signs further.
Pain Radiating to the Limbs
This form of pain begins in one spot in the neck and travels to the arms, legs, and other portions of the body. Pain that radiates through the limbs can be a sign of various conditions, such as:
- Herniated disc, a vertebral disc that has been ruptured or torn
- Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column
- Bone spurs, which may develop in the spine and cause arm pain and weakness
- Cervical myelopathy, compression of the spinal cord so significant that it can lead to progressive weakness and even paralysis
Difficulty with Daily Activities
Severe neck pain can inhibit or completely prevent you from completing routine activities or functions, from household chores to tasks at work. This could be a sign your condition is evolving into something more serious, especially if it’s not responding to medications, physical therapy, and other conservative forms of treatment.
If you notice odd sensations happening in your neck, this could also indicate something deeper. These sensations vary but can include numbness and tingling, with potential causes including the following:
- Multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune condition that affects the central nervous system
- Meningitis, an infection causing inflammation around the spinal cord and brain
- Nerve damage, which could result from herniated discs, injuries, and more
Unexplained Flu-Like Symptoms and Weight Loss
You may find your neck pain is accompanied by symptoms that are similar to the flu. If you notice a fever, chills, and stiffness, this could indicate meningitis, which should be treated as soon as possible. Weight loss that is unexplained or unintended, along with neck pain and stiffness, may also be an indicator of something serious, such as cancer.
Why Visiting Your Doctor Is Crucial
Less-serious diagnoses of neck pain can include muscle strain from overuse, poor posture, and holding stress-related tension. Osteoarthritis, a joint issue that causes the cartilage between vertebrae to wear down, can also be a cause. However, warning signs like the ones we’ve discussed could be indicators of far more serious conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, tumors, and more. If you or a loved one is seeking an accurate neck pain diagnosis, get in touch with the experts at IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics today in NJ or NY.