Cervical/neck pain is another common reason for visiting a doctor. In 2010, 16.3 million patient visits, or 1.3% of all health care visits to hospitals and physician offices, were for neck pain. Three out of four (76%) of these were physician visits, while only a very small number (3%) of patients with cervical/neck pain were hospitalized. (Reference Table 2.4.1 PDF CSV)
Cervical disorders accounted for the majority (65%) of health care visits for upper back pain in 2010. Neck disorders are primarily treated in outpatient clinics or physician offices, but are also responsible for the highest percentage of hospital discharges (60%) for upper back pain.
Cervical disc disorders accounted for only 15% of all neck pain health care visits in 2010, but were responsible for one-third of hospitalizations (33%).
Neck injuries accounted for 26% of all neck pain health care visits. This is a much higher percentage than that reported for low back injuries. Patients with neck injuries were primarily treated in an outpatient setting and, not surprisingly, represented 68% of all emergency department visits for neck pain. (Reference Table 2.3.1 PDF CSV)