On Feb 15 2008, the Journal Spine published a report of the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and its Associated Disorders. In this report they give a classification of neck pain into a grade system. They state that all neck pain, including whiplash associated disorders should be classified into this grade system. What Grade of Neck Pain do you have? We know that all neck pain whether mild or moderate in nature is serious- but some neck pain requires deeper knowledge, further testing and more invasive treatment than others.
Grade I Neck Pain: neck pain that has minimal or no interference with your activities of daily living. With Grade I neck pain there are no signs or symptoms of major structural pathology. There is hardly an interference with your activities of daily living.
Grade II Neck Pain: If you have a neck pain that limits your activities of daily activity. No signs or symptoms of major structural pathology but major interference with activities of daily living; This type of neck pain requires pain relief and early intervention to reduce the chances of long term disability.
Grade III Neck Pain: Neck pain that also includes signs and symptoms of a radiculopathy. With no no signs of major or structural pathology. A Radicolpathy can include weakness, radiation into the arms and hands and certain neurological signs being present: decreased deep tendon reflexes, weakness, sensory deficits. This grade of neck pain will require special diagnostic tests such as a Cervical MRI and occasionally more invasive and involved treatments
Grade IV Neck Pain: Neck pain with Pathology - This is the most serious of all grades of neck pain and includes signs and symptoms of major structural pathology such as fracture, myelopathy, neoplasm or systemic disease. It requires immediate diagnostic testing and treatment.