‘A Crick in the Neck’: Cervicalgia Neck Pain With Mobility Deficits

There are a variety of proposed causes of neck pain, however neck pain is classified to focus on its affect on patients. Neck pain with mobility deficits is often referred to as a cervicalgia or simple neck ache. Cervicalgia is the most common type of neck pain—if you’ve ever had someone refer to a ‘crick in their neck’ they may have been referring to cervicalgia.

You might feel:

    • Typically occurs in individuals
    • Often symptoms are located around the neck or scapular/shoulder area but may also be in face or jaw
    • Symptoms typically will not radiate past elbow but can be felt into hand without signs to weakness to arm and hand
    • Limitations in cervical range of motion with pain
    • Weakness to neck musculature

Possible causes:

    • May or may not have specific changes to neck structures as noted on imaging
    • Heavy lifting and manual work
    • Poor posture, sustained postures
    • Trauma such as car accident
    • Awkward positions

Things to try:

    • Postural training
    • Manual therapy techniques to cervical spine
    • Specific corrective exercise to address neck dysfunction and weakness
    • Sustained or repeated movements into positions that reduce symptoms
    • Medication and other modalities such as ice or heat may be necessary to calm symptoms enough to participate in corrective exercises.

Every individual and every episode of neck pain is very unique. The treatment suggestions listed above include several options to try and see how they may improve your situation. In addition, a thorough evaluation by a physical therapist can help identify specific features about your condition and how to best manage them. Understanding as much as possible about your current condition is a very important aspect of the recovery process and will empower you to take the necessary steps to get back to your normal activities with as little discomfort as possible.

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