Get answers to your Spine related questions.
Cervical osteoarthritis; Arthritis - neck; Neck arthritis; Chronic neck pain
Symptoms often develop slowly over time, but they may start or get worse suddenly. The pain may be mild, or it can be deep and so severe that you are unable to move.
You may feel the pain over the shoulder blade or it may spread to the upper arm, forearm, or (rarely) fingers.
The pain may get worse:
You may also have weakness in certain muscles. Sometimes, you may not notice it until your doctor examines you. In other cases, you will notice that you have a hard time lifting your arm, squeezing tightly with one of your hands, or other problems.
Other common symptoms are:
Less common symptoms are:
An exam may show that you have trouble moving your head toward your shoulder and rotating your head.
Your health care provider may ask you to bend your head forward and to the sides while putting slight downward pressure on the top of your head. Increased pain or numbness during this test is usually a sign that there is pressure on a nerve in your spine.
Weakness or loss of feeling can be signs of damage to certain nerve roots or to the spinal cord. Reflexes are often reduced.
A spine or neck x-ray may be done to look for arthritis or other changes in your spine.
MRI of the neck is done when you have:
Rosenbaum RB, Ciaverella DP. Disorders of bones, joints, ligaments, and meninges. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Butterworth-Heinemann; 2008:chap 77.
Cohen I, Jouve C. Cervical radiculopathy. In: Frontera WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD Jr, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 4.
Devereaux M. Neck pain. Med Clin North Am. 2009;93:273-284.
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