Many of us will experience neck pain one time or another in our life. Whether it feels like a minor “kink” in the neck, chronic stiffness or severe pain from an injury, it’s always important to address the source.
As a very vulnerable part of the spine, the neck is susceptible to injury. Sources of neck pain are typically due to spine, muscle ligament and nerve injuries. Neck pain can be acute or chronic. Acute neck pain comes on suddenly due to an injury and the pain usually resolves within several days or weeks as the injury heals. Chronic neck pain, on the other hand, lasts longer than three months and may be the cause of structural changes in the spine from degenerative diseases.
Let’s take a look at some of the common causes of neck pain:
Common Causes of Neck Pain
Stinger from a Sports Injury
A stinger, also known as a burner, is an injury to the nerves that are located from your neck down into your arm most commonly occurring during contact sports, such as football.
Symptoms include a burning or stinging feeling, arm or shoulder numbness, weakness or a tingly sensation. They usually get better on their own within a few days, but additional therapy may be necessary to aid in recovery.
Strain from Whiplash
Neck strains often occur when the head and neck are forcibly moved during a car accident causing whiplash injury. Whiplash can also occur from sports injuries or amusement park rides. Pain may start immediately after the injury or it could even take up to a few days to develop. Additional symptoms of whiplash include stiffness, headaches and feeling dizzy.
Fracture from Impact
As the most serious neck injury, a fracture means that a vertebra has been broken. Fractures occur from a high-force impact, such as from a car crash, fall or serious sports impact and can cause serious pain, numbness or even paralysis.
But even without a specific injury, neck pain can occur.
Strain from Sleeping
Sudden minor neck movements usually cause minor ligament sprains or muscular strains where the muscles become tight and painful. But this can also be caused by sleeping with your neck in an awkward position at night.
Breakdown of spinal structures from arthritis and other degenerative diseases can cause pressure on the spinal cords or nerves leading to chronic or occasional neck pain.
Bulging Spinal Disk Pressure
Pressure on spinal nerves can be caused by bulging spinal disks. As a natural result of aging or repeated small injuries to the neck, this kind of pressure causes tingling, pain, or numbness that spreads throughout the neck into the shoulder, arm, or hand on one side.
Treatment for Neck Pain Available at eMedical Urgent Care
As always, a medical examination by a qualified physician is necessary to identify the cause of your pain and determine the appropriate course of treatment. Be prepared to discuss symptoms and your medical history as well as perform simple neck movements to assess muscular strength, join motion and stability.
Additional tests, such as X-rays, bone scans, CT or MRI scans, may by ordered to identify the source of your neck pain. And although neck pain is typically treated with non-surgical methods such as medication, rest and physical therapy, but if neck pain symptoms progress, there are a variety of other treatments we can discuss with you.