Neck pain is caused by injury or muscle tension. Tight muscles in the neck can cause pressure on nerves that control your head and arm movement—causing pain in the neck and shoulder muscles. It can also be caused by incorrect alignment of the spine or poor posture from prolonged sitting or poor sleeping habits. The nerves in the neck are compressed or pinched by hard structures such as vertebrae or muscles. This compression can lead to inflammation and pain in the neck. Other factors such as muscle strain, arthritis, and trauma can also cause neck pain.
Neck pain is often described as a dull ache or pressure that extends from the base of the skull down into the neck, jaw, or shoulder. It feels like a sharp pain that shoots down into one’s arm when bending over.
- Neck stiffness
- Neck soreness
- Pain with movement
- Pain with turning your head
- Pain when swallowing
- Pain at the base of the skull
- Tenderness in the neck when touched
Common treatment options
- Physical therapy: Use of exercises, as well as therapeutic techniques, to treat the pain.
- Massage therapy: Helps relieve tension, muscle spasms and pain by relaxing muscles and increasing blood flow to the neck and surrounding areas.
- Acupuncture: Treats neck pain by releasing the pressure from the problem area, which can reduce pain and inflammation.
- Chiropractic care: Adjusting the spine and other joints around the neck region to help alleviate neck pain.
- Medical care: Treats the underlying causes for neck pain, such as muscle spasms and inflammation.