Your neck (Cervical Spine) is the upper most part of the backbone. It consists of seven vertebral bodies defined as C1 through C7. C2 through C7 are separated by intravertebral discs. The discs allow for movement of the spine and serve as shock absorbers during daily activity.
Acute or long-standing neck pain can have many potential causes that occur on a wide range of severity. Neck pain can be caused by disc degeneration, narrowing of the spinal canal, arthritis and in rare cases, cancer or meningitis. Age, injury, and poor posture can play a part in developing neck pain. For serious neck problems, a primary care physician will often consult a specialist such as a neurosurgeon to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe appropriate treatment. This often times will include an extensive history and physical exam including neurologic evaluation.
Following the evaluation it may be necessary to complete radiological studies to include neck x-rays, MRI, and or CT scanning. Diagnostic testing may also include myelography, discography, or EMG/NCV.