Neck pain can appear suddenly after a fall, quick turn or a poor nights sleep for others it can develop slowly over time. Its symptoms include difficulty with normal neck movements, tight and stiff muscles, tingling and even headaches can results from neck pain. Beyond the discomfort of neck pain the associated loss of normal range of motion can become quite debilitating as normal activities like checking the blind spot or turning to speak with someone at your side becomes at difficult task.

Common causes of neck pain

Despite the many causes and sources here are a some of the most common causes of neck pain. 

  • Whiplash: results from sudden distortion of the neck most commonly experienced by victims of motor vehicle accidents. It can range in severity from muscle strain to cervical fracture.
  • Prolonged postures: results from muscles that fatigue and spasm after being held in a fixed position over a long period of time. Examples would include holding a telephone between your shoulder and ear, painting the ceiling or sleeping on an uncomfortably high or low pillow.
  • Postural strains: a classic condition for most office workers who as the day progresses lean closer and closer to their screens rolling their shoulders and extend their head forwards straining many of the muscles and joints in their neck.
  • Nervous and circulatory system: although less common, neck pain can also result from more serious conditions and should not always be assumed to be simply stiff muscles.
Care for neck pain
Neck mobilization/manipulation in combination with exercise has been shown to be effective for neck pain with or without headache1. These treatments have also been included in the Clinical Practice Guidelines on Neck Pain published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy2.
At home care for neck pain can include avoiding aggravating activities or positions, gentle stretches held 15-30 seconds, icing painful areas and light pain-free activity. The goal of at home care is to minimize pain while regaining the normal range of motion and strength in the neck.