What are the Causes of Neck Pain?

Causes of Neck Pain

It’s tough when your neck hurts. With a sore neck, it becomes difficult to look around or hold your head up, which in turn makes it difficult for you to do anything else without discomfort. Neck pain can occur for many reasons, and it is often minor and temporary. Often, it is the result of strain or from being held in an awkward position.

Causes of minor neck pain typically include:

  • Poor sleeping posture — Falling asleep in a weird position, sitting up or on a new pillow can lead to a sharp pain in your neck that persists for a bit of time.
  • Strain — Holding your neck in an unnatural position for prolonged periods of time or lifting heavy objects may cause minor neck pain. This includes looking down too long when texting on your phone or typing on your computer, so if you do these activities a lot, make sure you take breaks and stretch your neck and back muscles.
  • Light impact — If something hits your neck hard enough you may feel a jolting pain in your neck that can persist for a short period of time. This usually occurs as a result of contact sports or an accident of some sort.

Most of the time, minor neck pain can be addressed with rest, pain medication, icing, and stretches. If your neck pain persists though, or if you’re not sure about how serious your pain is, you should speak with your primary care provider.

Causes of serious neck pain

Sometimes, neck pain can be the symptom of something more serious. Tracing the causes of neck pain can help you know when you should seek medical attention for treatment.

Some causes of serious neck pain include:

  • Herniated disc — The vertebrae in your spine are separated by a jelly-like disc that serves to cushion the vertebrae and keep them from rubbing against one another. A disc is considered herniated when part of it slips out of its normal position and puts pressure on the nerve running through your spine.
  • Arthritis — Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects joints in your fingers and wrists, but it can affect the spine as well. Another type of arthritis, Cervical Spondylosis, causes the spine to narrow, which puts pressure on the nerve.
  • Whiplash — A collision, usually an automobile accident, can force your head to fling in one direction which causes your neck to move suddenly, like the cracking of a whip. Pain from whiplash can persist for months without treatment.
  • Fibromyalgia — This condition can cause pain throughout many areas of your body, including the neck.

These kinds of neck conditions, including bone degeneration and spinal cancer, need professional medical treatment for any chance of reducing the pain.

If you’re suffering from neck pain, whether minor or major, you may benefit from treatment at Whatcom Physical Therapy. By focusing on strengthening and stretching your neck muscles and ligaments, physical therapy can help you reduce pain and feel like yourself again.

Would you like to speak with a physical therapist at Whatcom Physical Therapy about treating your neck pain? Contact us today to schedule an appointment.