Neck pain is a very common problem and usually is nothing to worry about. Estimates are that 1 in 3 people are affected once a year, with women suffering from it more often than men. It can occur anywhere in your neck, from the bottom of your head to the top of your shoulders. The pain can be dull or feel like an electric shock into your upper back or arms. In more severe cases, it can inhibit how much you can move your head and neck.
Acute neck pain usually goes away within one to two weeks. If the symptoms last longer than three months, it’s considered to be chronic neck pain.
Muscle strain or tension is often a common cause of neck pain. Everyday activities are also to blame, such as:
- Having your computer monitor positioned too high or low so that your head is in an odd, strained position for long periods of time.
- Sleeping in an awkward position that doesn’t support your neck or has your neck twisted or bent.
- Lifting things too quickly or with poor posture or minor injuries from tripping or falling can stress the cervical spine.
Some medical issues and injuries can also cause neck pain. These may include:
- Severe Injuries: Neck injuries may result from whiplash, blows to the face or top of the head, or accidents when playing sports.
- Degenerative and Chronic Conditions: As we get older, neck pain can be caused by degenerative or chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis or by spinal disc degeneration brought on by stress and motion over time.
If neck pain interferes with your work or other daily activities, it is time to contact your doctor.