Red flags for neck pain
Red flags are certain clinical features might suggest something serious is causes neck or back pain.
- New neck pain symptoms before the age of 20, or after the age of 55
- Widespread weaknesses or loss of sensation (more than one myotome or dermatome)
- Intractable or increasing pain
- Anything that suggests myelopathy and these include: slow onset, neurological symptoms, difficulty walking, weak hand or foot movement, loss of bowel bladder or bowel function. Along with any positive neurological signs such as upper motor neurons signs or Lhermitte’s sign
- Any lower motor neuron signs
- Any symptoms that suggest cancer
- Pain that disturbs sleep
- History of cancer, AIDS, or infection
- Tenderness of vertebrae suggesting trauma or fracture
- History of violent trauma
- Recent surgery of the neck
- Risk of osteoporosis
- Vascular signs and symptoms such as dizziness, black outs and drop attacks.
Some of these red flags have been adapted for ease of reading.