7 Common Causes of Neck Pain

by AZ Pain Doctors, on Sep 7, 2021 8:53:24 AM

With over 20% of people experiencing neck pain at any given moment, it's an unfortunately common occurrence. 

The issue is, there are many different causes of neck pain. This one symptom alone makes it difficult to tell exactly what's wrong, which can make it difficult to treat the root cause.

However, there are some issues that pop up time and time again when people are experiencing neck pain, usually pinpointed as the reason. Here are the most common culprits of neck pain.

1. Muscle Strains

One of the common causes of neck pain that happens to people all the time is a muscle strain (also called 'pulling a muscle'). This can happen if you move suddenly or sleep awkwardly, and wake up to sudden pain.

Although it can be jarring and even frightening if you aren't sure what has caused this pain, it usually isn't serious at all. It's a very minor injury that will solve itself.

Just be careful when moving around and try not to aggravate the muscle for a few days. They happen to everyone, but it's best not to push it when it does. 

2. Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve happens when there is too much pressure from the surrounding tissues. 

It's important to remember that pinched nerves in your back can cause pain in different places. If you have neck pain, it actually could be because of something that's happened in your back.

When it comes to neck pain treatment for this, the root cause will have to be treated. A doctor can relieve the pressure, and this means there should be no lasting damage.

Pinched nerves often solve themselves but if you have pain from one for more than a few days, it's advisable to see a medical professional. 

3. Age

Sadly, joints do get worn down by age. This includes the joints in the neck.

There are a few things that can help this, but ultimately, there's no cause except the body is getting older. This can cause pain all over the body, including the neck.

The best thing to do is take over-the-counter pain pills when the pain is particularly bad, or you can contact your doctor if you feel you need more help with managing it. 

4. Poor Posture

We hear it all the time — poor posture can cause health issues. Whether you walk with your spine hunched or sit at your computer chair in the same way, if you do this for a period of time, you're bound to cause yourself some problems.

Prevention is the best solution to this. Make sure you get up and walk around if you have a job that requires you to be sedentary. Regular breaks will be your biggest asset. 

If you already have problems due to poor posture, you should have the damage assessed and practice good posture from here on in to make sure it doesn't happen again. 

5. Osteoarthritis 

Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage around the edge of the bones wears down. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the area
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Loss of flexibility

Although the arms, legs, and spine are the most commonly affected by osteoarthritis, the neck can also feel its effects. Risk factors include age, being a woman, obesity, injuries, and even genetics.

The pain can often become chronic if unattended, so make sure you get this seen to. Physical therapy and medication is the best way of treating mild to moderate osteoarthritis, but surgery is also a possibility. 

6. Repetitive Motion

Certain repetitive motions can hurt your neck over time. There's nothing really to do about this but stop those motions and wait it out until the neck gets better.

For example, some people in active jobs may be putting the same strain on their necks over and over.

If it is your job causing this, try to take breaks as often as you're allowed. If you do experience pain, take a break from work until feeling better, or you could make the pain that much worse. 

7. Serious Illness

There's always the chance that your neck pain is down to a serious illness, though this is far less common than the minor causes. For example, there's meningitis, which has neck pain as a common symptom.

Don't panic. As there are only 600-1000 cases of meningitis in the US every year, it's unlikely any pain doctor would jump to this conclusion quickly. Still, it's important to be aware of the possibility. 

Certain kinds of cancer can also cause neck pain over time. 

This is why it's important to see a neck pain specialist or doctor if you're having pain that you can't quite pinpoint. Although a couple of days of neck pain may not be anything notable, persistent, intermittent, or chronic pain could be down to something serious.

There's always the chance, so getting it ruled out will put your mind at ease. 

It's Important To Treat Neck Pain

If you have neck pain from a pulled muscle that goes away in a few days, there's no need to worry about it.

However, if your neck pain is worse than that, feels different, or persists longer than it would for a pulled muscle, you should make an appointment with someone as soon as possible. 

If you're looking for pain management services in Arizona, schedule an appointment with AZ Pain Doctors. We're a top-rated pain management clinic that will actually listen and do our best to help you. 

We won't just stop the pain, but we'll find the cause. 

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Topics:neck pain