Pain Physicians NY

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Author: LeonReyfman1

5 Common Reasons of Why Your Neck Hurts

There are only three signs that neck pain is dangerous. If it tingles in the neck, snaps, shoots or cramps - you can exhale. With a probability of 99%, nothing terrible will happen to you. Only 1% of neck pains are caused by truly disturbing causes. But these dangerous diseases do not manifest themselves clearly.

When neck pain is really dangerous

Sometimes, neck pain can be a symptom of an autoimmune disease, tumors, inflammation, pinching of the nerve and problems with blood vessels or the spinal cord. You can assume an unpleasant disease if you observe three important signs at once:

1. The discomfort or pain in the neck does not stop for several days.

2. Unpleasant sensations are growing.

3. You have at least one “aggravating factor”: 

- age over 55 or under 20;

- increased soreness upon tapping;

- fever, nausea, or malaise;

- weight loss;

- regular headaches;

- stiffness in the simplest movements;

- numbness, tingling, and weakness in other parts of the body - arms or legs.

If all three points coincide, try to contact the therapist as soon as possible. The doctor will prescribe tests for you and possibly refer you to narrow specialists to clarify the causes and make a diagnosis.

There is another obvious situation where the pain cannot be left without immediate attention. If you are involved in an accident, fell from a bicycle, ski, snowboard or were injured in another way and sharp painful sensations in the neck arose rapidly after that. Then you have to contact the emergency room or a surgeon immediately.

Why does the neck hurt

The neck is thin and flexible and has to hold the weight of the head, which also turns back and forth, breaking the balance. In general, there is enough tension. But in some situations, the load increases and pain appears. 

Muscle strain

Almost everyone who spends a lot of time at the computer or desk is facing this. While sitting, we unconsciously move forward, carrying the head before the shoulders. The muscles have to seriously strain to keep it in such a non-physiological position. If it lasts for hours, the neck starts to hurt.

There is an additional nuance: over time, the muscles get used to being in the wrong position and it’s hard to relax them. It means that stress pains become regular. By the way, the neck muscles overload even by such harmless things like reading in bed or gritting teeth.

Worn joints

The neck joints also wear out with age, like other joints in the body. Elastic cartilages that provide the necessary cushioning during loads and soft turns become thinner and sometimes even completely destroyed. So the joints rub against each other when moving because of the thinning of cartilage. This causes stiffness and soreness.

Whiplash injuries

You are going, for example, by bus and at some point, it sharply slows down. So your head moves forward and then leans back by inertia. The load on the muscles increases, they dramatically stretch and micro-breaks appear. Orthopedists call this a whiplash trauma due to the characteristic movement of the neck.

Muscle inflammation

You ran without a scarf in the winter or sat down in a draft - and you got a stiff neck. Speaking in medical terms, because of the effects of cold, the muscles were inflamed, so myositis began.


The neck muscles can also become inflamed against the background of infectious diseases: ARVI, flu, viral tonsillitis and so on. Most often, myositis is not dangerous and within a few days passes by itself. However, it is important to keep track of the symptoms listed in “When neck pain is really dangerous” to consult a doctor if necessary.

Inflammation of the lymph nodes

In this case, it is not the neck pain. The accumulation of lymphatic cells is hurting. Enlarged, painful lymph nodes - a sure sign that the body is fighting an infection that is concentrated in the neck and head.

Most often we are talking about colds - flu, ARVI and ear infections. But sometimes the cause of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck can be "exotic." For example, developing caries in one of the teeth, beginning measles, immunity disorders, and even HIV.

Only a qualified doctor can determine the exact cause. So carefully monitor your condition to notice the dangerous signs and consult with a specialist in time.


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