Neck pain can have many different causes, that is why you will have a thorough consultation to establish causes and to select the appropriate treatment. Structures that are likely to cause neck pain may include the cervical discs, joints, ligaments and muscles of the neck, and neural structures.
Some times neck pain may be caused by general ‘wear and tear’ that occurs on the joints and bones in your neck. This is called ‘cervical spondylosis’ and is a type of arthritis. It is important to stress that this occurs naturally as people get older and it often causes no symptoms.
However, for an unfortunate few, the bony changes in the neck can cause stiffness in the neck and may squash the nearby nerves causing pain which may cause changes in sensation in the arms and hands often described as numbness or pins and needles.
Neck pain caused by a squashed nerve root is known as ‘cervical radiculopathy’ but it is not always caused by bony changes and may be the result of a change in your posture which has produced temporary symptoms. Commonly if your pain has not eased after around 4 to 6 weeks your physio or GP may refer you for an x-ray or MRI scan to establish the cause of your symptoms.