Neck pain refers to pain in the cervical spine. The cervical spine has an impressive amount of strength, complexity, and mobility, making this area of the body susceptible to pain or injury. Neck pain is an extremely common complaint, but it is rarely a sign of a more serious condition. However, if it is accompanied by numbness or loss of strength in your arms or hands, or if you have shooting pain into your shoulder or down your arm, seek medical attention right away.
Neck Pain Symptoms
Neck pain can range from mild discomfort to sharp, persistent pain. Pain may worsen by holding your head in one place for long periods.
Other common symptoms of neck pain are:
- Muscle spasms
- Stiffness of the neck
Neck Pain Causes
Neck pain may be caused by injuries, posture, or underlying conditions.
The most common causes of neck pain are:
- Injury: Traumatic injury from a bad fall or a sports injury can cause neck pain.
- Accident: Whiplash is an injury due to an auto accident that causes the cervical muscles to tighten and contract. This creates muscle fatigue and results in pain and stiffness.
- Poor posture: Poor posture is another major cause of neck pain. Slouching at your desk or constantly looking down at your phone can lead to neck pain.
- Age: As our body ages, we are more susceptible to injuries and conditions that can cause neck pain. Muscle strains, worn joints, nerve compression, and diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer are all likely to cause neck pain.