Information for Consumers - Neck Pain (Non-Traumatic)

This article tells you about non-traumatic neck pain and how it is diagnosed, including what imaging tests you may need to have.

What is non-traumatic neck pain?

Non-traumatic neck pain is pain in the neck which has been caused by aging or diseases such as arthritis. It has not been caused by injuries or trauma such as fractures.


Your doctor will discuss the signs and symptoms of your neck pain. Neck pain will usually go away within a few days and you would not normally need an X-ray for diagnosis. Your doctor may request an imaging test if he/she:

  • thinks something more serious may be causing your neck pain
  • your pain does not get better with simple treatment measures
  • you have other symptoms, such as tingling, numbness or weakness in your limbs

Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may request an X-ray, MRI, CT scan, or a myelogram. This will help the doctor to decide what is causing your neck pain and what type of treatment you need.

Further information

For more detailed information, please access InsideRadiology at:

This is a resource produced especially for consumers by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists:

A guide to gathering information that you may need for making informed decisions is published by the Consumers' Health Council of Australia at:

If you would like to look at other relevant articles, please access the following:

Or access the Diagnostic Imaging Pathways website at:

Or if you have questions or require any further information please contact your doctor or speak to the staff where you are going to have your procedure.

Consumer participation

This information has been reviewed by representatives from the following groups:

  • Aboriginal people
  • People with disabilities
  • Seniors
  • CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse)
  • The Health Consumers' Council


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This article is intended as general information only. The Diagnostic Imaging Pathways team and Radiology Across Borders will not accept any liability arising from its use. The information is kept as up-to-date and accurate as possible. Please be warned that it is always subject to change.


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Date reviewed: July 2017

Date of next review: July 2019