Mechanical neck pain with/out arm pain with no neurological deficit

Availability

North South North West Statewide

Pre-referral work-up

History

All referrals should comply to referral standards and include in particular:

  • Presence and duration of neurological symptoms and signs including evidence of lower limb spasticity
  • Work status
  • Weight loss, appetite loss and lethargy
  • Fever and sweats
  • Treatment to date
  • Previous malignant disease
  • General medical condition
  • Height, weight and BMI

Tests

Investigations (only if indicated):

  • Plain x-ray
  • FBC/CRP & ESR
  • Consider calcium and phosphate, protein
  • Rheumatoid serology in specific cases
  • MRI
  • CT scan only in suspected fracture

Interim/GP management

To refer a patient with this condition, please see the Neurosurgery clinic page for the full referral process and templates.

  • Activity modification
  • Analgesics
  • NSAIDs
  • Consider physiotherapy
  • Education
  • Maybe trial of soft collar if severe
  • Spasm

Refer if symptoms and signs persist despite adequate care >6/52 – initial referral should be to Rheumatology or Pain Assessment and they may on refer to neurosurgery

For more information please see the Tasmanian Health Pathways website.

Semi-urgent / category 2

Mechanical neck pain

Routine / category 3

Patients with no referred arm pain or neurological deficit and unremarkable imaging are not routinely seen

Red flags are clinical indicators of possible serious underlying conditions requiring further medical intervention. They may or may not indicate an emergency.

Emergency:

Proceed to Emergency Department (ED).
LGH ED Reception  – Phone: (03) 6777 6405  Fax: (03) 6777 5201
MCH ED* – Phone: (03) 6478 5120  Fax: (03) 6441 5923
NWRH ED* – Phone: (03) 6493 6351 Fax: (03) 6464 1926
RHH ED Reception – Phone: (03) 6166 6100  Fax: (03) 6173 0489. Phone the Neurosurgery Registrar on call via Switch (03) 6166 8308 and/or send to RHH DEM

Advice for medical practitioners can be given by the Medical Officer In Charge (MOIC) - see HealthPathways Tasmania for contact information.
*MCH and NWRH MOICs request GPs call them prior to referring a patient to ensure the patient is being sent appropriately to a safe destination.

Urgent:

Urgent cases must be discussed with the Neurosurgery Registrar on call to obtain appropriate prioritisation and a referral faxed to (03) 6173 0491

We will endeavour to see these patients within 30 days, or sooner if clinically indicated.

Semi-urgent:

We will endeavour to see these patients within 90 days, or sooner if clinically indicated.

Routine:

Next available appointment. We will endeavour to see these patients within 365 days.