Severity Of Current Neck Pain

What Causes Neck Pain?

Neck pain can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'critical'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose neck pain, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "neck pain" as a symptom.  Here are eight possibilities (more below):
  • Dehydration
  • Encephalitis
  • Meningitis
  • Possible Urgent Medical Need
  • Torticollis
  • Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • A Subarachnoid Hemorrhage
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
severe left lumbar pain
occasional unexplained fevers
minor pain in cold/cool/damp weather
frequent unexplained nausea
tinnitus
non-specific arm pain
slight tongue swelling
recent onset nausea
joint pain/swelling/stiffness
slight stiff neck
history of rheumatoid arthritis
severe fatigue after slight exertion
... and more than 60 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of neck pain:
Cause Probability Status
Dehydration 91% Confirm
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis 19% Unlikely
Torticollis 17% Unlikely
Encephalitis 0% Ruled out
A Subarachnoid Hemorrhage 0% Ruled out
Rheumatoid Arthritis 0% Ruled out
Meningitis 0% Ruled out
Possible Urgent Medical Need 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate neck pain/stiffness, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
If you have neck pain, how severe is it?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ My neck is not painful
→ It is a minor problem
→ It is significant, but I can function
→ I am in extreme pain, unable to function
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate not having neck pain, slight neck pain, significant neck pain or severe neck pain, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
A Potentially Urgent Medical Need

Severe neck pain can indicate a potentially life-threatening condition, such as meningitis, encephalitis or a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Dehydration

If the body is dehydrated, the intervertebral disks in the cervical spine will also be dehydrated, possibly causing neck pain.

Torticollis (Loxia, "Wryneck")

Pain in the neck, back, or shoulder affects more than two-thirds of all people with torticollis.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
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