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Neck Pain (cont.)

Symptoms

Neck pain may:

  • Spread to the upper back, shoulders, or arms.
  • Be worse with movement.
  • Make your neck stiff or tender.
  • Cause headaches. These are common and may last for months.

Nerve-related symptoms caused by pressure on the spinal nerve roots or spinal cordClick here to see an illustration. include:

  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm or hand.
  • A burning feeling when you are touched on the skin of the arm or hand.
  • A pain that feels like a shock and extends into your arm or hand.
  • Leg numbness or weakness, and loss of the ability to control urination (bladder control) or bowel movements. This can occur when there is pressure on or injury to the spinal cord.

What Happens

Most neck pain gets better within several weeks with treatment that includes taking steps to relieve pain, modifying activities, and doing exercises or manual therapy. Neck pain caused by an injury such as a severe whiplash may take longer but usually improves in 6 to 12 months.

Chronic neck pain

Neck pain may become long-lasting (chronic) when it occurs in combination with other health conditions, such as conditions associated with increasing age. These include narrowing of the spinal canal (cervical spinal stenosis), arthritis of the neck (cervical spondylosis), or herniated disc. In some cases, chronic neck pain can be caused by repeated and prolonged movements, such as long hours working at a computer.

Chronic neck pain can make it hard to cope with daily life. Common side effects of chronic pain include fatigue, depression, and anxiety. For more information, see the topic Chronic Pain.

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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