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Signs of Cervical Neck Problems

By Rose Kitchen ; Updated July 27, 2017

Signs of cervical neck problems can come on suddenly or over time. The specific signs and symptoms could indicate several different cervical neck problems only a doctor can diagnose definitively. The signs could indicate a minor injury or a major problem. It is imperative that all signs of cervical neck problems be diagnosed and treated in a timely manner to avoid future complications.

Signs and Symptoms of a Herniated Cervical Disc

Symptoms of this cervical neck problem will depend on what disc is herniated. Herniations between the C4 and C5 discs can cause deltoid muscle weakness and shoulder pain. Herniations between the C5 and C6 discs can cause wrist extensor and bicep weakness and numbness and tingling and pain that radiates down the inner arm. Herniations between the C6 and C7 discs can cause finger extensor and tricep weakness and pain, numbness and tingling that can radiate from the tricep to the middle finger. Herniations between the C7 and T1 discs can cause handgrip weakness and tingling, numbness and pain down the outer side of the arm.

Signs and Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis of the cervical spine can cause loss of balance and neck and shoulder pain. Symptoms such as muscle weakness, loss of muscle sensation and headaches may also occur. These signs and symptoms occur because of compressed nerves in the neck.

Signs and Symptoms of Whiplash

Whiplash is an injury that affects the spine. It occurs most often when a person is rear-ended in an automobile. Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulder pain or pain in between the shoulder blades, ringing in the ears, trouble concentrating, headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, fatigue, trouble with memory, sleep troubles and irritability.


Diagnosing the signs of cervical neck problems requires the consultation of a medical doctor. He will take a patient history, perform a physical exam and ask about the patient's signs and symptoms. Once he establishes some ideas of the problem, he may send the patient for an X-ray, MRI or CT scan. If the cervical neck problem was caused by an injury, he may ask about the details of the injury and what caused it.


The symptoms of cervical neck problems often require multiple forms of treatment. Those listed above often benefit most from a combination of medication and physical therapy. Devices such as a TENS unit or neck brace may also be used to help control pain and to stabilize the injured area. Common medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, over-the-counter or narcotic pain relievers and muscle relaxers.

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