Any part of your neck - muscles, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, or nerves - can cause neck problems. Neck pain is very common. Pain may also come from your shoulder, jaw, head, or upper arms.
Muscle strain or tension often causes neck pain. The problem is usually overuse, such as from sitting at a computer for too long. Sometimes you can strain your neck muscles from sleeping in an awkward position or overdoing it during exercise. Falls or accidents, including car accidents, are another common cause of neck pain. Whiplash, a soft tissue injury to the neck, is also called neck sprain or strain.
Treatment depends on the cause, but may include applying ice, taking pain relievers, getting physical therapy or wearing a cervical collar. You rarely need surgery.
- Cervical Exercise: The Backbone of Spine Treatment (North American Spine Society) - PDF
- Burners (American Academy of Family Physicians) Available in Spanish
- Cervical Dystonia (Spasmodic Torticollis) (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Cervical Radiculopathy (Pinched Nerve) (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) - PDF
- Cervical Spondylosis (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Cervical Spondylosis (Arthritis of the Neck) (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) - PDF
- Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy (CSM) (American Academy of Family Physicians) Available in Spanish
- Cervical Stenosis, Myelopathy and Radiculopathy (North American Spine Society)
- Herniated Cervical Disc (North American Spine Society)
- Repetitive Motion Disorders (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) - Short Summary
- Stiff Neck (Nemours Foundation)
- Whiplash (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) - Short Summary
- Whiplash and Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAS) (North American Spine Society)
- Genetics Home Reference: Klippel-Feil syndrome (National Library of Medicine)
Health Check Tools
- Neck Pain (DSHI Systems)
Statistics and Research
- Multiple 60-Minute Massages per Week Offer Relief for Chronic Neck Pain (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Overcoming chronic neck pain. Can adding an alternative approach to...
- Article: Short-Lasting Unilateral Neuralgiform Headache with Conjunctival Injection and Tearing Secondary...
- Article: Cervical zygapophysial (facet) joint pain: effectiveness of interventional management strategies.
- Neck Injuries and Disorders -- see more articles
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- Cervical MRI scan Available in Spanish
- Cervical spine CT scan Available in Spanish
- Cervical spondylosis Available in Spanish
- Neck lump Available in Spanish
- Neck pain Available in Spanish
- Neck pain or spasms -- self care Available in Spanish
- Neck x-ray Available in Spanish
- Spinal fusion Available in Spanish
- Torticollis Available in Spanish