Cervical injuries or disorders can cause pain in front of the neck.
Neck Pain Causes
There are many causes of neck pain, such as trauma, poor posture, joint and bone abnormalities, muscle strain, degenerative diseases, or tumors.1 A patient might have neck spasms, or they may have a pulled neck muscle or a stiff neck. Neck stiffness, a sore neck, or severe neck pain could also be caused by neck strain, pharyngitis, heartburn/GERD, hiatal hernia, strep throat, torticollis, tonsillitis, mononucleosis, cancer, allergens, or arthritis, for example.2 Cancer may present with various symptoms, such as a sore or lump that is not healing, a persistent sore throat, hoarseness, or trouble swallowing. The mouth could have bleeding or red or white patches on the gums, there might be salivary gland swelling or paralysis in the facial muscles, and there may be chronic sinus infections. Ear pain, trouble breathing, headaches, and ear ringing can be other signs of a neck cancer.3 Other causes of frontal neck pain include lupus, swollen lymph nodes, bone spurs, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD), and thyroid conditions. Stress, slouching, and whiplash can also trigger neck pain. Whiplash is “an injury to the neck, typically incurred from a quick or jerky movement with increased force”.4 A heart attack could also affect the neck, as well as fibromyalgia, meningitis, a ruptured cervical disc, or spinal stenosis.5
Cervical Problems and Pain in Front of the Neck Treatments
Chiropractors are trained in treating musculoskeletal conditions. If a patient is experiencing cervical (neck) strain or pain, and the condition is not an emergency or one that needs to be treated medically, a chiropractor can use various techniques to alleviate the problem. They could employ an adjustment, cervical mobilization, cervical manual traction, or cervical drop techniques. An adjustment would be done with “a slower (low-velocity) technique performed within the passive range of joint motion”. Mobilization involves the chiropractor moving the vertebrae from side to side. Traction is a gentle pulling on the neck to stretch the cervical spine. Cervical drop places the patient in a prone or side position on special table that drops a short distance while the chiropractor places a hand over the spinal segment that needs adjusting.6 Another chiropractic technique is flexion-distraction, also using a special table. Some practitioners might also utilize instruments to assist with tissue manipulation. Ultrasound, trigger point therapy, and inferential electro-therapy are other treatments for the neck.7 Massage therapists can also work with trigger points.8
Learn more about whiplash and chiropractic treatments.