X-ray of chronic neck pain

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Author: Mikael Häggström [notes 1]


Choice of modality

  • X-ray of chronic neck pain is the initial imaging of choice in new or increasing non-traumatic neck pain, with absence of below findings.[1]
  • In case of new or increasing non-traumatic cervical radiculopathy, MRI of radiculopathy is the preferable initial choice.[1]
  • MRI of the neck is also the preferable initial choice in neck pain and either of the following is suspected:
  • Infection[1]
  • Malignancy, including previously known malignancy and neck pain[1]
  • CT of chronic neck pain is an alternative to X-ray in new or increasing nontraumatic cervical or neck pain or radiculopathy in case of known prior cervical spine surgery.[1]



Vertebral lines.


  • Vertebral lines
  • Distances between vertebrae, and between spinous processes

Incongruencies indicate mainly cervical fracture, spondylolisthesis or ligament injury.


  1. For a full list of contributors, see article history. Creators of images are attributed at the image description pages, seen by clicking on the images. See Radlines:Authorship for details.