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Orthopedic Care for Neck Pain


If you have neck pain, it can range from mild tenderness or a dull ache to sudden, severe pain. You may only experience neck pain when you move in a certain way or perform specific activities. This pain may come and go, or it may be chronic and nearly disabling.

Dignity Health provides an expertise in orthopedic treatment in the Bay Area, offering patients care for neck pain.

Symptoms with Neck Pain

You may notice these symptoms along with neck pain:

  • Headache
  • Numbness that moves from your neck down your shoulder and arm
  • Pain in your upper backshoulders and arms
  • Stiffness and difficulty moving your neck

Neck pain can be a sign of a serious, life-threatening condition, such as meningitis or heart attack. Call 9-1-1 for neck pain with these symptoms:

  • Chest or jaw pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever, vomiting or light sensitivity

Common Neck Pain Causes

The most common cause of neck pain is muscle strain or spasm, which can affect the bones, joints and nerves in your spine and other parts of your neck and shoulders.

The most common causes of neck pain include: 

  • Arthritis — such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Herniated discs, which can cause painful inflammation and spinal nerve compression
  • Infections, such as osteomyelitis or meningitis
  • Muscle strain or spasms due to poor posture, injury or overuse of the neck, such as straining to look at a computer screen
  • Poor alignment of the spine
  • Tumors, including both benign and cancerous growths pressing on spinal nerves

Effectively Treating Neck Pain in the Bay Area

To diagnose your neck pain, your doctor will consider your symptoms, a physical examination of your neck, and your ability to move your neck in various directions. An imaging test (such as an X-ray or MRI) may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis and create a treatment plan. Your doctor also may order additional tests to check nerve function and determine the source of inflammation. 

An effective treatment strategy for most cases of neck pain includes medication to reduce pain and inflammation, and exercises to stretch and strengthen the neck and shoulder area. In some cases, surgery is sometimes necessary for conditions that affect the spinal nerves. 

To find a more effective treatment for your neck pain in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Redwood City or surrounding areas, use our Find a Doctor tool to locate an orthopedic specialist near you.

Dignity Health serves patients across the Bay Area with diagnosis and treatment for neck pain and other orthopedic symptoms and conditions.