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Neck Pain Symptoms

A lot of people suffer from neck pain or stiffness and, in most cases, the condition causing it is not serious and is resolved within a few days. In other cases however, medical treatment for neck pain symptoms and the conditions causing them may be required.

Pain in the neck is typically caused by an inflammation or injury in the bones, ligaments or muscles of the neck that support the head and allow motion.

Let’s take a look at what are some of the most common causes for neck pain:

  • Whiplash

How it hurts: Symptoms of whiplash following a car accident, a sports injury or an amusement park ride may not become apparent right away, however, in the days following an incident, you may begin to feel neck pain and stiffness, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision or constant weariness.

Why it hurts: When the muscles in your neck suffer a strain because of rapid movement backwards and forwards, the soft tissue surrounding the neck may extend beyond their normal range of motion.

  • Cervical Spondylosis

How it hurts: Cervical Spondylosis rarely exhibits any symptoms, however, those who do present them complain of pain around the shoulder blade when standing, sitting, sneezing or tilting their head backwards.  

Why it hurts: The bones and protective cartilage in the cervical spine begin to wear and tear, typically due to age, although other contributing factors such as bone spurs or herniated discs may also be to blame.

  • Migraines

How it hurts: Before the actual headache appears, you may feel food cravings, depression, fatigue, irritability or a stiff neck. These symptoms may appear up to two days before the headache. Once the migraine  begins what is called the attack phase, you may experience dizziness, sensitivity to light, nausea, headache that is pulsing or throbbing or vomiting.

Why it hurts: there isn’t yet an identifiable cause for migraines, but there may be several contributing factors, including changes in brain chemicals, which may be triggered by certain foods, severe climates, hormonal changes, drinking alcohol, stress or lack of sleep.

  • Torticollis

How it hurts: Torticollis or wry neck will prevent you from moving your head normally, may cause neck pain or stiffness and sometimes a headache. Typically, your chin will be titled to one side while your head tilts to the other.

Why it hurts: Torticollis can be either congenital or acquired and is often caused by damage to the neck muscles or blood supply.

  • Herniated disc

How it hurts: Although a slipped disc is most common in your lower back, your cervical discs may also become compromised. The most common symptoms of a slipped or herniated disc are numbness, tingling, burning or pain, most common in one side of the body, that worsens at night, after standing or sitting. The pain may extend to your arms.  

Why it hurts: The soft inner portion of the disc bulges through the outer ring causing the pain and discomfort.

  • Meningitis

How it hurts: The symptoms of meningitis can vary according to age and whether they are caused by viral or bacterial meningitis. Viral meningitis can cause irritability, sleepiness, lethargy, decreased appetite, fever, headaches, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, nausea and/or seizures. Bacterial meningitis may alter your mental status, cause nausea, vomiting, irritability, a headache, fever, stiff neck and sensitivity to light.

Why it hurts: The membranes covering the brain and spinal cord become inflamed due to a viral or bacterial infection. Meningitis is a serious medical condition and requires immediate medical attention.  

The above are likely causes of neck pain. Some of these conditions are mild and typically go away on their own or with home remedies. However, some conditions do require medical attention. Visit your doctor to determine the cause of your pain and follow the appropriate course of treatment.