So what is neck pain? It has been defined as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage in the neck region”. However, all neck pain disorders are not the same. In fact there are a few different types and severity levels that should be considered, as they will require different types of management.
Level I: Neck pain and associated disorders with no signs or symptoms suggestive of major structural pathology and no or minor interference with activities of daily living.
Level II: No signs or symptoms of major structural pathology but major interference with activities of daily living.
Level III: No signs or symptoms of major structural pathology but presence of neurologic signs, such as decreased deep tendon reflexes, weakness, or sensory deficits.
Level IV: Signs or symptoms of major structural pathology; major structural pathologies include (but are not limited to) fracture, vertebral dislocation, injury to the spinal cord, infection, neoplasm, or systemic disease, including inflammatory arthropathies.