Neck Problems and Injuries
Most people will have a minor neck problem at one time or another. Our body movements usually do not cause problems, but it's not surprising that symptoms develop from everyday wear and tear, overuse, or injury. Neck problems and injuries most commonly occur during sports or recreational activities, work-related tasks, or projects around the home.
Neck pain may feel like a "kink," stiffness, or severe pain. Pain may spread to the shoulders, upper back, or arms, or it may cause a headache. Neck movement may be limited, usually more to one side than the other. Neck pain refers to pain anywhere from the area at the base of the skull into the shoulders. The neck includes:
Neck pain may be caused by an injury to one or more of these areas, or it may have another cause. Home treatment will often help relieve neck pain caused by minor injuries.
Activities that may cause neck pain
Neck pain is often caused by a strain or spasm of the neck muscles or inflammation of the neck joints. Examples of common activities that may cause this type of minor injury include:
Sudden (acute) injuries
Minor neck injuries may result from tripping, falling a short distance, or excessive twisting of the spine. Severe neck injuries may result from whiplash in a car accident, falls from significant heights, direct blows to the back or the top of the head, sports-related injuries, a penetrating injury such as a stab wound, or external pressure applied to the neck, such as strangulation.
Pain from an injury may be sudden and severe. Bruising and swelling may develop soon after the injury. Acute injuries include:
Emergency care is required for a neck injury that causes damage to the spinal cord. Symptoms of a spinal cord injury include loss of movement or feeling, numbness, tingling, difficulty controlling the muscles of the arms or legs, and loss of bowel or bladder control.
Conditions that may cause neck problems
Neck problems may not be related to an injury.
Treatment for a neck problem or injury may include first aid measures, physical therapy, manipulative therapy (such as chiropractic or osteopathic), medicine, and in some cases surgery. Treatment depends on:
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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