Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.

Neck pain Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Neck pain. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

Privacy Statement
No private information is transferred over the internet. Do not use the "Browser back button", as this may cause data loss.

  1. How long have you had neck pain?

    Why: to determine if acute or chronic.

  2. Where is the neck pain worst and can you point to the area of maximal pain?

    Why: to determine if it is front, back, side, base of neck, top of neck.

  3. Nature of the pain?

    Why: may reveal its likely origin e.g. aching, throbbing pain can indicate inflammation such as spondylitis; superficial steady diffuse pain can indicate local pain such as a muscular strain; boring deep pain can indicate bone disease such as bone tumor.

  4. Is your neck pain worse when you wake in the morning or later in the day??

    Why: Inflammatory neck pain is worse at night and in early morning; mechanical neck pain due to injury is worse at the end of the day and after activity; Continuous neck pain present day and night is suggestive of infection or bone tumor.

  5. Did the neck pain start after an injury to your head or neck such as hitting your head on an overhead bar or a rear-end collision between motor vehicles?- helps to determine cause of neck pain e.g. dysfunction of the cervical intervertebral disc, whiplash, neck muscle strain, compression fracture of the spine
  6. Aggravating and relieving factors?

    Why: inflammatory back pain causes pain at rest , relieved by activity ; mechanical back pain due to injury is exacerbated by activity and relieved by rest ;osteoarthritis causes pain with or after activity and relieved with rest; pain from nerve root compression from a disc protrusion is aggravated by coughing, sneezing and straining.

  7. Does the neck pain radiate to anywhere else?

    Why: Pain in the neck may radiate to the head, ear, face, arm, shoulder, front of the chest or back of the chest.

  8. Past history of cancer?

    Why: The cervical spine accounts for about 15% of spinal metastases. The commonest primary tumors are the breast, prostate, lung, kidney, thyroid and melanoma.

  9. Family history?

    Why: e.g. osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis, heart attack, angina, heart bypass surgery.

  10. Pain in ears, throat, teeth, sinus?

    Why: may suggest tender enlarged cervical lymph nodes as the cause of neck pain.

  11. Headaches?

    Why: often suggests pain referred to head from neck . Must always consider the possibility of meningitis or subarachnoid hemorrhage.

  12. Radiation of pain to one or both arms?

    Why: would suggest a space-occupying lesion such as a herniated cervical disk, spinal cord tumor, fracture of the cervical spine or cervical spondylosis (degeneration of the cervical neck bones).

  13. Neck stiffness?

    Why: if severe, prolonged and worse in the morning indicates inflammation e.g. Rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis; Osteoarthritis causes stiffness at rest. Must also consider the possibility of meningitis and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

  14. Pain, swelling or stiffness in any other joints in the body?

    Why: consider Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis or enteropathic arthritis (such as due to Ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease).

  15. Arm paresthesia?

    Why: may indicate compression of spinal cord or nerve roots from a disc prolapse, narrowed intervertebral foramina or bone tumor.

  16. Arm weakness or clumsiness?

    Why: may indicate compression of spinal cord or nerve roots from a disc prolapse, narrowed intervertebral foramina or bone tumor.

  17. Fever?

    Why: may occur in acute vertebral osteomyelitis, spinal cord infection, tuberculosis (more commonly occurs in middle back), meningitis or de Quervain's thyroiditis.

  18. Skin rash?

    Why: may suggest psoriatic arthritis.

  19. Eye pain?

    Why: may suggest Ankylosing spondylitis.

  20. Recent diarrhea?

    Why: may suggest enteropathic arthritis (such as due to Ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease).

  21. Neck swelling and difficulty with swallowing?

    Why: suggests de Quervain's thyroiditis which may also have features of hyperthyroidism.

  22. Symptoms of cervical spine joint dysfunction?

    Why: e.g. pain in the back of the neck that may radiate to the back of the head, ear, face or shoulders. Associated with reduced neck movement and various degrees of stiffness. Pain is aggravated by activity and improved by rest. There may or may not be a history of injury. This is the most common cause of neck pain.

  23. Symptoms of whiplash?

    Why: e.g. pain and stiffness of the neck and upper shoulders that may radiate to the back of the head, between the shoulder blades or down the arms. Stiffness is felt initially in the front of the neck muscles and later shifts to the back of the neck. Headache (typically at the back of the head) is a common and disabling symptom that may persist for many months. The injury occurs as a consequence of overextension of the neck followed by a recoil overflexion, typically following a rear-end collision between motor vehicles. Delayed symptoms are common, most experiencing symptoms between 6 hours to 24 hours later.

  24. Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?

    Why: e.g. usually symmetrical and can affect many joints. Pain is worse at the end of the day and aggravated by use and cold weather, relieved by rest. Usually associated with pronounced stiffness, especially after activity.

  25. Symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis?

    Why: e.g. usually starts with the gradual onset of pain and stiffness of the small joints of the hands and feet. Joint pain is worse on waking; nocturnal pain with disturbed sleep, pain is relieved with activity. Morning and rest stiffness can last for hours. May be associated with weakness, weight loss, malaise and fatigue. Involvement of the cervical spine is usually a late feature of Rheumatoid arthritis.

  26. Symptoms of depression?

    Why: Chronic neck pain can increase risk of causing or aggravating depression; Depression can continue to aggravate or maintain the neck pain even though the provoking problem has disappeared. A period of depression is common after a whiplash injury.

  27. Symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica?

    Why: e.g. symmetrical pain and stiffness in the shoulder, hips and neck. Associated with early morning stiffness and sometimes weight loss, malaise and reduced appetite. There is a painful restriction of movement of the shoulders and hips.

  28. Symptoms of angina or heart attack?

    Why: e.g. central crushing chest pain that may radiate to left side of neck. May be associated with shortness of breath, dizziness and palpitations.

  29. Symptoms of de Quervain's thyroiditis?

    Why: e.g. symptoms of hyperthyroidism along with fever, malaise, pain in the neck. It is usually associated with a systemic viral infection.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Neck pain:

The following list of conditions have 'Neck pain' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Neck pain or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I J L M N O P Q R S T V W

Conditions listing medical complications: Neck pain:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Neck pain' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use. Information provided on this site is for informational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for advice from your own medical team. The information on this site is not to be used for diagnosing or treating any health concerns you may have - please contact your physician or health care professional for all your medical needs. Please see our Terms of Use.

Home | Symptoms | Diseases | Diagnosis | Videos | Tools | Forum | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Advertise