Neck Pain

Learn more about neck pain.

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Neck pain can stem from a variety of causes and necessitates evaluation by a healthcare professional to pinpoint the precise source of your discomfort.

Much like other parts of the body, neck pain typically arises in one of two ways:

  • Major trauma results from a significant event, such as a car accident, sports injury, or a hard fall, leading to immediate injury and pain.
  • Microtraumas, on the other hand, are less conspicuous when they occur. These are small, repetitive stresses on the body that take time to culminate in injury. A single microtrauma isn’t substantial enough to necessitate treatment, but when they accumulate, they can lead to ligament breakdown and eventual pain.

Following either type of injury, reduced neck mobility is often observed. Some common causes of neck pain include disc injuries, neck sprains, neck strains, and headaches. While each of these issues can manifest as neck or head pain, their root causes differ significantly, and treatments vary accordingly. After discussing your specific problem with your doctor and undergoing a comprehensive examination, the precise cause of your neck pain can be determined. Appropriate treatment for your neck pain can markedly enhance your quality of life and alleviate or resolve your discomfort. Here’s a brief overview of some of the more prevalent conditions.

Disc Injury

Disc injuries can develop as a result of either a significant trauma or repeated microtraumas. There are three commonly used terms to describe these injuries: disc bulge, disc herniation, and disc sequestration. Essentially, they represent the same type of injury but vary in terms of severity. The encouraging news is that with appropriate therapies, the impairment stemming from any of these disc injuries can be substantially ameliorated or even completely resolved.

Neck Strains and Sprains

Just like disc injuries, neck sprains and strains can result from either a singular major trauma or repetitive microtraumas. Both sprains and strains involve the tearing of body tissues, and they are typically categorized by grades, usually ranging from 1 to 3.

Grade 1 is considered mild and involves the tearing of only a few fibers within the tissue. With a grade 1 injury, you’ll likely experience soreness but should start feeling better after a few days.

Grade 2 signifies a moderate injury in which up to 50% of the ligament or muscle tissue is torn. A grade 2 injury necessitates treatment to prevent potential recurring or even permanent pain and diminished function.

Grade 3 injuries are the most severe and indicate a complete structural failure with more than 50% of the tissue torn. Grade 3 injuries may sometimes require surgical intervention for repair and typically demand a longer healing duration. It’s possible that grade 3 injuries may not heal completely.

While both sprains and strains can occur in similar ways, these two types of injuries follow distinct healing processes.

Neck Strains

Strains specifically affect the body’s muscles and are alternatively known as soft tissue injuries. While strains can be quite painful, they typically exhibit a healing timeframe of approximately 6-8 weeks. After experiencing pain improvement, rehabilitative exercises are often the most beneficial for recovering from neck strains and preventing future occurrences.

Neck Sprains

A sprain pertains to injuries affecting the body’s ligaments and the annular fibers of the spinal discs. These tissues, collectively known as connective tissues, exhibit a notably slower healing process compared to muscles. Typically, ligaments necessitate treatment to prevent substantial future impairment and pain.

Without proper treatment, ligaments are susceptible to recurrent injuries, leading to escalating pain over time. With appropriate treatment, it becomes feasible to strengthen the sprained tissue to a degree where it no longer significantly disrupts your daily life.

Some other possible conditions related to neck injuries may include:

Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease

Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease is the degeneration of the discs that cushion the spine. Disc degeneration is often associated with spinal instability, and bone spurs may subsequently grow to stabilize the spine.

Cervical Facet Arthritis

Can be defined as arthritis occurs in the cervical region and often involves neck pain localized in the area of the cervical facet.

Cervical Facet Syndrome

This Syndrome occurs in the cervical region and often involves neck pain localized in the area of the cervical facet.

Cervical Foraminal Stenosis

This refers to the narrowing of the regions that surround the nerves which exit the spine.

Cervical Stenosis

Unlike cervical foraminal stenosis, cervical stenosis refers to narrowing of the regions that surround the nerves which exit the spine.

Cervical Stinger

A cervical “stinger” or “burner” is a neurological injury to the brachial plexus. Typically with a stinger or burner the upper part of this plexus gets stretched.

Cervical Herniated Disc

A cervical herniated disc refers to a disc that is no longer contained completely between the intervertebral space.

Cervical Pinched Nerve

A cervical pinched nerve refers to compression of the nerve in the cervical region.

Cervical Radiculitis

Cervical radiculitis or radiculopathy is caused by impingement of a nerve root, essentially a “pinched” nerve.


A headache is pain anywhere in the region of the head or neck.

Neck Pain

Neck muscles can be strained from poor posture and lead to neck pain — whether it’s leaning into your computer at work or hunching over your workbench at home.

Occipital Neuralgia

Occipital neuralgia is a neurological condition that involves dysfunction of the occipital nerves.


Whiplash is a neck injury that can occur during rear-end automobile collisions, when your head suddenly moves backward and then forward — similar to the motion of someone cracking a whip.