Most neck pain is caused by strain or sprain to muscles and ligaments, rather than damage to the spine.
Symptoms will depend on the cause but may include:
- difficulty turning head
- pain in neck, shoulders and/or upper chest
- stiff neck
Common causes of neck pain include:
May be caused by anxiety and stress, poor neck support while sleeping, poor posture (due to computer, smartphone, slouching, watching TV), sports or work activities.
Herniated or bulging disc
Tough outside layer of a disc tears or ruptures and jelly-like inside bulges out and presses on spinal nerves.
Cervical spondylosis – arthritis of the neck related to ageing
Most people may not have symptoms; however, when they do occur, most common symptoms are neck pain and stiffness. Some people may experience tingling or numbness in arms and legs.
Whiplash may occur when the neck moves suddenly and vigorously beyond its usual range of movement, injuring neck muscles, tendons and ligaments. Pain may occur 6-12 hours after an incident. Injuries commonly occur from:
- car accidents
- contact sports such as football and boxing
- being hit by a heavy object
- a fall
Symptoms may include:
- muscle spasms
- neck movement – loss or reduction
- pain – arm, neck, shoulder
Normally symptoms improve within days or weeks; however, some remain for months.
It is essential to see a doctor if neck pain occurs after an injury or car accident. Whiplash-related issues may include:
- blurred vision
- lower back pain
- memory problems
- numbness or pain in arms and hands
- pins and needles in arms and hands
- swallowing difficulties