What Causes Stiff Neck?
Stiff neck can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'critical'. Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.
Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms. In order to diagnose stiff neck, we could:
- Research the topic
- Find a doctor with the time
- Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.
Step 1: List all Possible Causes
We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "stiff neck" as a symptom. Here are eight possibilities:
- Cervical Arthritis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- A Subarachnoid Hemorrhage
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Possible Urgent Medical Need
Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist
We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
high diastolic blood pressure
breast soreness during cycle
being able to stay up late
slight neck pain
low lymphocyte count
reduced mental clarity
an average-stress lifestyle
recent onset neck pain
... and more than 60 others
Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause
A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of stiff neck:
|A Subarachnoid Hemorrhage
|Possible Urgent Medical Need
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process
Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis
is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.
If you have a stiff (hard-to-turn) neck, how far can you turn your neck until the pain or resistance becomes too much?
→ Don't know
→ My neck is not stiff
→ I can move my neck quite well, but not all the way
→ I can move my neck a little, with difficulty
→ I can not move my neck
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate no neck stiffness, slight stiff neck, stiff neck or severe stiff neck, The Analyst™
will consider possibilities such as:
A Potentially Urgent Medical Need
|A very stiff neck can indicate a potentially life-threatening condition, such as meningitis, encephalitis or a subarachnoid hemorrage.|Stress
|Stress can cause the neck muscles to tighten and become stiff.|