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.
Neck pain warrants immediate consultation with your primary care provider and if you feel it is an emergency situation you should call 911 contact your local emergency services.
1. Gross et al. Manipulation or mobilisation for neck pain. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (2010) (1) pp. CD004249
2. Childs et al. Neck pain: Clinical practice guidelines linked to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health from the Orthopedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. The Journal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy (2008) vol. 38 (9) pp. A1-A34