We have all woken up with the occasional stiff neck, but when neck pain becomes chronic or acute and interferes with daily activities, it may be time to seek out the cause. Neck pain occurs in 1 out of 3 people at least once a year. It is more common in women than men and increases as we age. Our neck has the big job of holding up our heads which are the average weight of a bowling ball. Maintaining good posture and sleeping with good posture can be a delicate balance.
Here are some common causes of neck pain:
- Arthritis: Chronic pain and stiffness in the neck that may be worse with upright activity. Muscle spasms and a cracking sound are also common arthritis signs.
- Fibromyalgia: Wide-spread pain with muscle pain and tenderness in the neck joint, chronic fatigue, and problems with cognition.
- Pinched nerves: Radiating pain, muscle weakness, and numbness is caused by compression and inflammation of any nerve roots of your cervical spine (neck).
- Injury ( whiplash): Neck stiffness, pain, and dizziness can be associated with whiplash, among many other symptoms.
- Herniated Disc: Pain in your shoulder and arm. This pain might shoot into your arm or leg when you cough, sneeze or move into certain positions.
- Stenosis: Numbness or tingling in the arms and hands. Weakness in the hands can make it hard to write and button clothing.
- Spondylosis: Pain or muscle spasms in the neck. It becomes more common as we age.
- Neck strain: A neck strain may be painful as soon as the injury occurs, or it may take many hours for the inflammation to increase and symptoms to appear, like pain and stiffness.
- Growths (tumors, bone spurs): Symptoms like pain, stiffness, and limited motion. Medications, physical therapy, and surgery may help.
Neck pain rarely starts overnight. It usually evolves slowly over time. Generally, neck pain is nothing to worry about, but if it's occurring with other, more severe symptoms, such as radiating pain, weakness, or numbness of an arm or leg, make sure to see your doctor.
To receive a diagnosis for your neck pain, an orthopedic specialist or surgeon will review your medical history and conduct a physical exam.
Dr. Moazzaz specializes in non-invasive, nonsurgical therapies for back and neck pain treatments. Call to schedule an appointment at (760) 904-5444.
Dr. Payam Moazzaz is a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon in California specializing in advanced minimally invasive spine surgery that enables successful returns to active lifestyles.