Although statistics show us that the majority of neck pain is caused by musculoskeletal issues, there a several symptoms that may be an indication of a more serious underlying issue.
If any of the following symptoms present along with your neck pain, it is important for you to seek further medical attention. This will either rule in or out something more serious and ensure you receive the appropriate care for your condition.
True sudden severe development of neck pain and or headaches can be a potential symptom of a cervical artery dissection (one of the most common causes of a stroke.) It is often described as the “worst headache I’ve ever had.” Severe neck pain or headaches are often mistaken by patients as “sudden”, though typically is due to a gradual development of discomfort that had previously gone unnoticed.
While the majority of patients with sudden onset of severe pain ARE NOT displaying true stroke symptoms, it is an important clinical indicator that should prompt the need for a medical evaluation.
It is even more important to consider this risk when your sudden severe pain presents in conjunction with the following:
- Double vision
- Drop Attacks
- Slurred/difficult speech
- Facial Numbness
The development of these three symptoms can be an indication of a meningeal infection, more commonly known as “Meningitis”.
This is a medical emergency and should warrant an evaluation if the symptoms develop concurrently or within a couple days of each other.
The following is a list of symptoms that when presented in conjunction with musculoskeletal pain may warrant further medical evaluation:
- Change in bowel or bladder function
- Numbness throughout your entire groin region; also known as saddle paresthesia (imagine the region of your groin that would be in contact with a horse saddle)
- History of fever or chills at the onset or around the onset of your low back pain
- Any sign of unexplained weight loss
- No position of relief. Please note - often patients come into our office believing they have no position of relief until we find it upon examination.