What Are The Causes Of Neck Pain

August 10, 2012  |  Orthopedic Pillow

Most people who have had stiff neck or neck pain before would definitely agree that it is not an experience they would like to repeat. A stiff neck is sore, uncomfortable and can make you feel immobilized. Craning your neck to look either left or right can become a rather difficult feat. Those who love people-watching may have to put their hobby on hold when they have stiff neck, since it becomes awkward to keep on twisting their bodies just to look at something.

Stiff neck is an inconvenience that does not end in a short period of time – it may last from two days to a week, or even more.

So what causes neck pain or stiff neck? Here are some of the most common causes of the pain:

  • Straining – Keeping the neck in an awkward position for a long period of time can cause neck pain. Have you ever experienced waking up to a painful neck? Chances are, you may have slept in a position that strained your neck muscles. Some people who watch television while lying in bed may also experience the same from time to time.
  • Injuries – This can be considered as one of the most common causes of neck pain. This alone gives a variety of causes – from falling, to playing sports, to vehicular accidents. Improper stretching can even injure the neck. If your head is suddenly jerked forward or backward swiftly, the muscles in your neck may have been injured which leads to stiffness and soreness.
  • Infections – Meningitis is a common example infection that causes stiff neck. Meningitis is the bacterial infection occurring in the protective membranes of the brain, as well as portions of the spinal cord. It is very serious and should be treated right away. You will know if your neck problem is caused by an infection because it is usually accompanied by fever, nausea and sluggishness.
  • ArthritisOsteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can be causes of stiff neck. Osteoarthritis is a condition that comes from the deterioration of the joints including those of the neck. The condition is age-related, which means that it usually occurs to older people. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disorder which also affects the joints of your body. It can cause extreme pain and stiffness in the neck, usually located on the upper portion of your neck. Arthritis can also cause pinched nerve, a condition caused by damage to one or a set of nerves. This can also cause pain in the affected area.

When should you go to a doctor?

Many forms of neck pain usually subside after a week. During this time, you can help improve your discomfort by giving the area a cold compress and using a orthopedic-approved pillow. If you do not see any improvement within the next few days, then you may need to visit your doctor for an assessment.

If you suddenly experience neck pain without being injured in any way, you should visit your doctor to have the underlying cause of your pain diagnosed. Also,  if your neck hurts after a traumatic injury or if you experience fever along with your neck pain, you should seek medical help too.

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