Neck pain can be defined as a sensation of discomfort or distress of the cervical spine or surrounding tissues. Signs of neck pain include reluctance to rise, walk, jump and crying out when changing positions. Abnormal head posture, holding the head down and a reluctance to turn the head may also be seen. The neck and back may be arched and there may be swelling of the cervical tissues. Causes of neck pain include traumatic muscle injury, exertional rhabdomyolysis, myositis due to penetrating injuries, inflammatory myositis, intervertebral disc disease, discospondylitis, malformation of the spine and neoplasia such as osteosarcomas involving the vertebrae. Treatment depends on the underlying cause and focuses on relieving pain, immobilization and treatment of the underlying disease process. Acute severe neck pain may be treated with cage rest and analgesics. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, exercise restriction, acupuncture and surgery are treatment options for chronic neck pain.
REFERENCE: Côte, E (ed) 2007, ‘Clinical veterinary advisor : dogs and cats’, Mosby Elsevier, St. Louis, pp. 741-742.
Metadata assigned by Dr. M. van Schoor, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Companion Animal Clinical Studies