At Piedmont Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, PA we offer effective treatment for people suffering from neck pain. While we provide relief for the vast majority of people we always find it helpful when our patients have a good understanding of their condition. Neck pain can be divided into two distinct categories. While the first type can be associated with pain of any type or character, and can dramatically affect quality of life to the point of it being disabling, it is not life threatening (at least not in the literal sense of the term). The second type is life threatening; it is a surgical emergency and can result in loss of bowel or bladder control and paralysis. One important warning sign is progressive neurologic deficit. In this case it is not just weakness or numbness that occurs, but it is getting progressively worse and may even spread to other body parts. If you experience true loss of bowel or bladder control (stress incontinence from coughing or sneezing does not count) or think you are having progressive neurologic deficit, then don’t even think about it; just go to the ER.