Woman with pain in neck

8 Causes of Neck Pain

The neck is a delicate area that can have effects on the entire body. As such, an injury, stiffness or chronic pain in this region can have a dramatic impact on your mobility and quality of life.  There are several underlying causes of neck pain. Below you’ll find 8 of the most common causes. 

Causes of Neck Pain

The fragile neck area is fairly susceptible to damage and chronic pain. As such, discomfort in this region can either be acute or long-lasting, and may be caused by a number of different injuries and conditions, including:

  1. Muscle strains: Muscle strains are the most common cause of neck pain.
  2. Whiplash injuries: Whiplash is a serious neck injury that develops when your head is forcefully thrown backward and forward, damaging various structures within the neck, including the bones, ligaments, muscles and other tissues. 
  3. Arthritis: Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints. This inflammation causes pain and stiffness. 
  4. Disc degeneration: Disc degeneration and disc tears involve damage to the spinal discs that cushion your vertebrae. While disc tears tend to develop due to a sports injury, age-related degeneration and automobile accidents, disc degeneration typically occurs due to osteoarthritis, a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. 
  5. Pinched Nerve/Disc Herniation: Disc herniation develops when the spongy cushions in your spine bulge outward pressing on a nerve – resulting in painful symptoms radiating from the neck to the shoulder ,arm & hand with tingling numbness and shooting pain.
  6. Facet disease/degeneration: Your facet joints are responsible for the flexibility of your spine. They allow you to bend, twist and move freely, but they can become damaged or torn with repetitive movements. With cervical facet disease, you’ll experience pain at the base of your skull, upper back, shoulders and neck, while lumbar facet disease may produce pain in the lower back, buttocks, hips, groin and thighs.
  7. Trigger points: Trigger points feel like knots in the muscle and are tender.
  8. Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal condition characterized by widespread muscle and joint pain with multiple “trigger or tender points”, fatigue, and other symptoms. 

Symptoms of Neck Pain

Depending on the underlying cause, neck pain symptoms can take on many different forms. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Pain when holding your head in one place for long periods of time
  • Inability to move your head freely
  • Muscle tightness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Headache
  • Frequent cracking and crunching
  • Numbness and nerve pain radiating from the neck down to the upper arm and hand

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor for treatment options to heal these injuries and prevent them from reoccurring.