The anatomy and pathophysiology of neck pain

Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2011 Aug;22(3):367-82, vii. doi: 10.1016/j.pmr.2011.03.008.


Neck pain should not, and must not, be confused with cervical radicular pain. Equating the two conditions, or confusing them, results in misdiagnosis, inappropriate investigations, and inappropriate treatment that is destined to fail. So critical is the difference that pedagogically it is unwise to include the two topics in the same book, let alone the same article. However, traditions and expectations are hard to break. In deference to habit, this article addresses both entities, but does so by underplaying cervical radicular pain so as to retain the emphasis on neck pain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neck / innervation
  • Neck Pain / etiology*
  • Neck Pain / pathology
  • Neck Pain / physiopathology*
  • Radiculopathy / etiology
  • Radiculopathy / pathology
  • Radiculopathy / physiopathology