The Evaluation of Patients With Neck Pain

Donald R. Gore, MD


Medscape Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine eJourn. 2001;5(4) 

In This Article

Patient History

The history is obtained in a standard format, with the patient sitting fully clothed in direct view of the physician. The examiner should elicit the onset, duration, and relationship of the symptoms with trauma and activities. The exact location needs to be determined and specific characteristics of the pain described, including severity, whether it is constant or intermittent, how it is currently affected by activities and body position, and a subjective description by the patient as to what the pain feels like to them (eg, burning, searing, tearing, aching, etc.).

Specific questions about any associated symptoms such as numbness, tingling, weakness, changes in coordination, and bowel and/or bladder functions should be asked. Information about systemic complaints, pain in other body areas, and known concomitant diseases are documented. Finally, general information about the patient's lifestyle, smoking habits, drug and alcohol consumption, family situation, work activity, and the possibility of secondary gain associated with the injury completes the historical review.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.