Causes of neck stiffness

This appeared only once, in Question 24.5 from the first paper of 2009. As such, it is a of little importance. However, while looking to expand on the college answer, I was disturbed to find that nowhere is there a list of differentials for this.

Thus, for completeness, here is one such list, within a familiar VINDICATE template.


  • Dural sinus thrombosis
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage


  • Epidural abscess
  • Neck abscess
  • Meningitis/encephalitis
  • Tetanus


  • C-spine vertebral metastasis or primary


  • Dystonic reaction
  • Withdrawal


  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cervical spondylitis
  • Torticollis


  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis


  • Whiplash
  • C-spine dislocation, subluxation or fracture
  • Prolonged neck hyperextension during surgery (eg. tracheostomy)


  • Hypocalcemia



Oh's Intensive Care manual: Chapter 49   (pp. 549) Disorders  of  consciousness  by Balasubramanian  Venkatesh

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