Neck pain, also referred to as cervical pain, is one of the most common complaints encountered in daily practice as people have more and more tension due to the stresses of modern life, both physical and mental. Neck pain may occur either on one side or on both sides of the neck and delays in treatment, or improper treatment of neck pain, may lead to further damage.
Neck pain can result from a number of disorders and diseases of any tissues in the neck, such as degenerative disc disease, neck strain, whiplash, a herniated disc, or a pinched nerve.
Neck pain is commonly associated with dull aching. Other symptoms associated with some forms of neck pain include numbness, tingling, tenderness, burning, sharp shooting pain, stabbing, stiffness, fullness, pulsations, swishing sounds in the head, dizziness, light-headedness, and difficulty swallowing. Sometimes neck pain is worsened with movement of the neck.
In physiology, there are seven vertebrae that surround the spinal cord and canal. Between these vertebrae are discs, and nearby pass the nerves of the neck. Within the neck, structures include the neck muscles, arteries, veins, lymph glands, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, oesophagus, larynx, and trachea. Diseases or conditions that affect any of these tissues of the neck may maturely result in neck pain.
When there is neck pain, the following conditions should be noted, such as location, intensity, duration, and radiation of the pain, any factor, positions and motions which cause aggravation and/or alleviation, tenderness, as well as any past injuries, etc. To confirm a diagnosis, some modern technical examinations are often applied, such as X-ray, CT scan, bone scan, MRI scan, or electromyography (EMG).
According to TCM, it is usually caused by invasion of External pathogenic factors (Invasion of Wind Cold, Wind Heat, stagnation of Qi and Blood, overstrain, a bad sleeping position, physical trauma or inappropriate surgery) . Neck pain might be attributed to any of the following diseases in Western medicine: carbuncle, local skin infection, degeneration of the cervical vertebrae, herniation of a cervical disc, osteoarthritis, cervical spondylosis, torticollis, whiplash, trachelokyphosis, spontaneous subluxation of cervical vertebrae, trachelagra, trachelomyitis, carotid arteritis and injury of the soft tissues of the neck.