I am a science writer, former massage therapist, and I was the assistant editor at ScienceBasedMedicine.org for several years. I have had my share of injuries and pain challenges as a runner and ultimate player. My wife and I live in downtown Vancouver, Canada. See my full bio and qualifications, or my blog, Writerly. You might run into me on Facebook or Twitter.
Check all that apply. Most people will not be able to check many of these! But the more you can check, the more worthwhile it is to ask your doctor if it’s possible that there’s something more serious going on than just neck pain. Most people who check off an item or two will turn out not to have an ominous health issue. But red flags are reasons to check… not reasons to worry.
Five updates have been logged for this article since publication (2016). All PainScience.com updates are logged to show a long term commitment to quality, accuracy, and currency. more Like good footnotes, update logging sets PainScience.com apart from most other health websites and blogs. It’s fine print, but important fine print, in the same spirit of transparency as the editing history available for Wikipedia pages.

What is cervicalgia and how is it treated? Learn all about cervicalgia, a pain in the neck. It involves a sharp pain in the neck area when certain movements are made. Poor posture, traumatic injury, and stress are some of the common causes. Symptoms include stiffness and difficulty moving the neck. Find out more about neck pain and how to treat and prevent it. Read now
Stabilization surgery is sometimes—but not always—done at the same time as a decompression surgery. In some forms of decompression surgery, the surgeon may need to remove a large portion of the vertebra or vertebrae. That results in an unstable spine, meaning that it moves in abnormal ways, and that puts you more at risk for serious neurological injury. In that case, the surgeon will restabilize the spine. Commonly, this is done with a fusion and spinal instrumentation, or implantation of an artificial disc.

Chiropractic was founded in 1895 by Daniel David (D.D.) Palmer in Davenport, Iowa. Palmer, a magnetic healer, hypothesized that manual manipulation of the spine could cure disease.[215] The first chiropractic patient of D.D. Palmer was Harvey Lillard, a worker in the building where Palmer's office was located.[37] He claimed that he had severely reduced hearing for 17 years, which started soon following a "pop" in his spine.[37] A few days following his adjustment, Lillard claimed his hearing was almost completely restored.[37] Chiropractic competed with its predecessor osteopathy, another medical system based on magnetic healing and bonesetting; both systems were founded by charismatic midwesterners in opposition to the conventional medicine of the day, and both postulated that manipulation improved health.[215] Although initially keeping chiropractic a family secret, in 1898 Palmer began teaching it to a few students at his new Palmer School of Chiropractic.[23] One student, his son Bartlett Joshua (B.J.) Palmer, became committed to promoting chiropractic, took over the Palmer School in 1906, and rapidly expanded its enrollment.[23]
Signs and symptoms of neck pain may be stiffness, tightness, aching, burning or stabbing or shooting pains, pressure, or tingling. Muscles can feel sore or tense in the neck, face, or shoulders. Muscles can spasm when they go into a state of extreme contraction (e.g., after whiplash). Movement may be restricted — perhaps you cannot turn your head. If nerves are involved, pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness may develop in your shoulders, arms or hands.
Upon graduation, there may be a requirement to pass national, state, or provincial board examinations before being licensed to practice in a particular jurisdiction.[171][172] Depending on the location, continuing education may be required to renew these licenses.[173][174] Specialty training is available through part-time postgraduate education programs such as chiropractic orthopedics and sports chiropractic, and through full-time residency programs such as radiology or orthopedics.[175]

AAOS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians referenced herein. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, or locate one in your area through the AAOS Find an Orthopaedist program on this website.
Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic services are used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.
Chiropractors use hands-on spinal manipulation and other alternative treatments, the theory being that proper alignment of the body's musculoskeletal structure, particularly the spine, will enable the body to heal itself without surgery or medication. Manipulation is used to restore mobility to joints restricted by tissue injury caused by a traumatic event, such as falling, or repetitive stress, such as sitting without proper back support.
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