Neck Pain

Clinical Pattern Recognition - Neck Pain

From anatomy to discovering the patient!

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  • 22% to 70% of the population will have neck pain some time in their lives

  • At any given time 10% to 20% of the population reports neck problems, with 54% of individuals having experienced neck pain within the last 6 months

  • Prevalence of neck pain increases with age

  • Most common in women around the fifth decade of life

  • See more prevalence information in the Clinical Pattern Recognition: Orthopaedics app here

  • Meet the 5 common neck pain patients from the Clinical Practice Guidelines!

Clinical Pattern Recognition

Click on the pain pattern to learn about the patients and develop your clinical patterns!

1. Cervical Facet Syndrome/Spondylosis Neck Pain and Mobility Deficit (1-minute video)

2. Cervical Radiculopathy Neck Pain and Radiating Arm Pain (1-minute video)

3. Whiplash - Neck Pain and Movement Coordination Impairments (1-minute video)

4. Neck sprain/strain Neck Pain and Movement Coordination Impairments (1-minute video)

5. Cervicogenic headache Neck pain and headache (1-minute video)

Cervical Facet Syndrome/Spondylosis

Neck Pain with Mobility Deficits

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  • Patients with cervical facet syndrome or spondylosis tend to present with unilateral neck pain and complaints of limited range of motion. Pain can also be referred to the scapula and shoulder regions! If you do not know the common clinical findings no problem! Click here



Image via Complete Anatomy 2018 by 3D4 Medical

Key Finding

The cervical spine quadrant assessment elicits maximal strain to the facet joints via coupling of side bend, rotation and extension movements. Although discomfort is common with this test, if the patient experiences reproduction of their primary complaint the likelihood of facet pathology is increased. (Click image to watch 1-2 minute video)


If the patient meets the criteria and is deemed appropriate, the patient may benefit from cervical spine thrust manipulation! Research shows that thrust manipulation and/or non-thrust mobilization in conjunction with therapeutic exercise produces better outcomes than either treatment alone! (Click image to watch 1-2 minute video)

Therapeutic Exercise

After improving range of motion it is important to instruct the patient on how to move properly in this new range! (Click image to watch 1-2 minute video)

*As always, remember to assess the whole individual and do not forget to address other impairments, which may be contributing to the patient’s primary complaint!