What Does It Mean When Your Neck Hurts?


Neck pain is a common complaint. Medical experts note that most people will experience some type of neck pain during their lives. In some cases, you may know the cause of the problem, such as a sudden movement during athletic activities or a car accident. However, in other cases, you may suddenly experience neck pain without any apparent reason. Here are some of the causes of neck discomfort that may be at fault:

Sleep-Related Pain

Sometimes, neck pain is a result of sleeping in an awkward position during the night. This prolonged distension of neck muscles can cause pain during the day when you are engaged in normal movements. If neck pain occurs over a period of time, a change of pillow may be needed to provide better support for neck muscles.

Muscle Sprains

Muscle sprains can occur from sudden movements of the head and neck, such as in impact sports. Whiplash injuries from car accidents often involve sudden jerking of the head and neck forward and then backward, which can cause severe muscle sprains of the neck muscles. These injuries can be helped by immobilizing the neck for a period of time and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen for pain.

Chronic Tension

People often hold everyday tension in their upper shoulders and neck, which can lead to headaches and neck pain. Managing everyday stress is as important to health as eating a good diet and getting regular exercise. If you are troubled by frequent neck pain caused by tension, take an active part in managing your daily stress with massage, meditation, deep breathing or other measures to help you feel more relaxed and in control.

Cervical Disc Problems

Neck pain can also result from compression of the cervical discs in the upper spine. These discs are filled with gel-like fluid that helps to cushion the vertebrae during movement. When the discs of the upper spine become compressed, nerves that are connected from the spine to other parts of the upper body may be affected. The individual may experience referred pain in the neck, shoulder or into the arm. A number of diagnostic tests, such as x-ray, MRI or CT scan can determine that source of the problem so that appropriate therapy can be provided. Physical therapy, massage or other treatment may be needed to relieve pain and improve mobility.

If you have frequent problems with neck pain, contact the Comprehensive Medical Center in NJ for a consultation on solutions for your chronic neck problems.