It’s usually the case that neck pain can be treated effectively with DIY care. Actions like stretching, rest, taking anti-inflammatory OTC medications and contrast (hot/cold) therapy are all that you need.
There are, however, instances of neck pain you need to take seriously.
In this post, we’ll talk about neck pain symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
Serious Headache/Fever, with Neck Stiffness
A stiff neck doesn’t mean much on its own but when it’s accompanied by an excruciating headache or a fever, the cause may be meningitis.
This bacterial infection provokes inflammation in the spinal cord and brain. Manifesting early as a high temperature with chills and aches, a serious headache and difficulty bending the head forward are other symptoms.
You may also experience vomiting, nausea and sensitivity to light and/or sound.
If you’ve been exposed to meningitis, symptoms will develop within a few days. Early treatment is essential. Not seeking treatment may result in brain damage, hearing loss or even death.
Risk factors include being under the age of 24 (infants and adolescents especially) and the time of year. Meningitis infections peak in January, February and March. While rare, this disease is dangerous.
Numbness/Weakness In the Hand/Arm with Neck Pain
When pain radiates to the extremities, affecting the shoulders, arms or fingers, cervical radiculopathy is suspected.
The pain is accompanied by numbness and weakness and the sensation of pins-and-needles.
This condition suggests nerve root compression in the cervical (upper) spine. Compression may also be inflammation or trauma to the nerve. Often indicative of an adjacent herniated disc or bone spur, degenerative changes in the structures of the neck are the root cause. But cervical radiculopathy may sometimes be a symptom of infection or even a tumor.
Usually, pain from this condition is experienced on one side of the body and may feel like an electric shock or have a burning quality. You may find that your grip is weak on that side and that your reflexes are slower.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, immediate medical attention is advised. You’ll be examined by your doctor who will order diagnostic imaging to determine the cause of the pain and to either rule out or establish cervical radiculopathy and its root cause.
While these examples of neck pain symptoms that require immediate medical attention are just 2 of several, any kind of ongoing pain requires the support of a medical professional.
As you can see, neck pain can be much more serious than tired muscles. It pays to listen to your body, take stock of your symptoms and get to your doctor’s office as soon as you can.
Spine Consult NJ
The Spine Consult NJ team is dedicated to relieving pain and restoring our patients to full function.
Drawing on a network of healthcare professionals, we source the right treatments for your issue. From conservative therapies through surgery, we tailor care to your needs.
Full-spectrum care at SCNJ places the patient at the center of our practice, with the goal of renewed quality of life. Contact us.