Neck Pain

The cervical spine comprises of the first 7 vertebrae. It supports the weight of the head and allows its smooth movement. Neck pain refers to pain or discomfort resulting from abnormalities or injuries to any of the structures in the neck including the muscles, ligaments, nerves, bones and vertebral joints. Neck pain is one of the most common health problems experienced by individuals, at some point of their lives. It can either be a dull constant pain or a sudden sharp pain and is usually aggravated by movement.

Causes

The neck is flexible and supports the head, so it can be prone to injuries and conditions.

  • Muscle strains. Overuse of the neck muscles, such as hunching over a computer or phone, often triggers muscle strains. Even minor things, like reading in bed, can strain neck muscles.
  • Worn joints. Like other joints in the body, neck joints tend to wear down with age.
  • Nerve compression. Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of the neck can press on the nerves from the spinal cord.
  • Injuries. Rear-end motor vehicle accidents often result in whiplash, which strains the soft tissues of the neck and causes pain.

Symptoms

  • Limitied range of motion of head
  • Muscle tightness and spasms
  • Headache

When Should You See a Doctor?

See a doctor immediately if the neck pain results from an injury, such as a motor vehicle accident, sports accident, or fall.

Contact a doctor if the pain:

  • Is severe
  • Is accompanied by headache, numbness, or weakness
  • Lasts for several days without change
  • Spreads down legs or arms
© Spine Center and Orthopedic Rehabilitation of Englewood, PC

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