Neck pain causes

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Editor-In-Chief: Robert G. Schwartz, M.D.[3],Piedmont Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, P.A.


Neck pain, although felt in the neck, can be caused by numerous other spinal issues. Neck pain may arise due to muscular tightness in both the neck and upper back. Joint disruption in the neck creates pain, as does joint disruption in the upper back. Neck pain is a frequent cause ofcervicogenic headache orMigraine.


Common Causes

Reasons for neck pain can be complex. Major and severe causes of neck pain include:

The more common and lesser neck pain causes include:

  • Stress – physical and emotional stresses
  • Prolonged postures – many people fall asleep on sofas and chairs and wake with sore necks
  • Minor injuries and falls – car accidents, sporting events and day to day minor injuries
  • Referred pain – mostly from upper back problems
  • Over-use – muscular strain or ligamentous sprain are two the most common causes[5]

Less Common Causes

Non-spinal conditions:

Medication Causes

Although the causes are numerous, most are easily rectified by either professional help or using self help advice and techniques.


  1. Binder AI (2008). "Neck pain". BMJ Clin Evid. 2008. PMC 2907992. PMID 19445809.
  2. Resnick D (1985). "Degenerative diseases of the vertebral column". Radiology. 156 (1): 3–14. doi:10.1148/radiology.156.1.3923556. PMID 3923556.
  3. Schellhas KP, Smith MD, Gundry CR, Pollei SR (1996). "Cervical discogenic pain. Prospective correlation of magnetic resonance imaging and discography in asymptomatic subjects and pain sufferers". Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 21 (3): 300–11, discussion 311-2. doi:10.1097/00007632-199602010-00009. PMID 8742205.
  4. Côté P, Wong JJ, Sutton D, Shearer HM, Mior S, Randhawa K; et al. (2016). "Management of neck pain and associated disorders: A clinical practice guideline from the Ontario Protocol for Traffic Injury Management (OPTIMa) Collaboration". Eur Spine J. 25 (7): 2000–22. doi:10.1007/s00586-016-4467-7. PMID 26984876.
  5. Binder A (2007). "The diagnosis and treatment of nonspecific neck pain and whiplash". Eura Medicophys. 43 (1): 79–89. PMID 17369782.

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