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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health Neck Pain

Neck Pain

Neck pain or cervicalgia is a common problem. It can be caused by muscular tightness in both neck and upper back. Neck pain can be caused by injury, stress or other health problems.


Neck pain may arise from the structures in the neck like vascular, nerve, airway, and digestive, muscular, skeletal or can be referred from other areas of the body

Causes of neck pain

  • Poor sleeping posture
  • Neck injury
  • Whiplash injury
  • Neck strain
  • Pinched nerve
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Neck pain
  • Neck muscle disorder
  • Neck muscle spasm
  • Torticollis
  • Cervical spine arthritis
  • Carotid artery dissection
  • Referred pain from upper back problems
  • Infections like retropharyngeal abscesses
  • Spondylosis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spinal disc herniation
  • Stress
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Meningitis
  • Thyroid trauma
  • Cervical extension injury
  • Prolapsed cervical disc
  • Cervical spine infection 

Tests and diagnosis

  • X-ray of the neck
  • CT scan of the neck
  • CAT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Myelogram
  • Cerebrospinal fluid analysis if you suspect meningitis
  • Electromyography
  • Nerve conduction velocity test

Treatment of neck pain

  • Medications to relieve pain like acetaminophen, ibuprofen
  • Physical therapy
  • Mobilization and/or manipulation plus exercise
  • Physical therapy.
  • Ultrasound with heat or cold
  • Local injections of cortisone
  • Topical pain patches
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Surgical procedures
  • Topical anesthetic patches

Prevention of neck pain

  • Proper posture while sitting
  • Keep your head up straight and rest your back on the chair
  • Avoid sitting continuously for long time
  • Avoid sleeping on stomach
  • During neck pain avoid pillows while lying on bed
  • Apply heat on the neck when there is swelling or pain.
  • Sleep on hard bed and lying on back is good for neck and upper back.
  • If you work at a computer, stretch the neck every hour or so.
  • Use seat belts and helmets while driving to prevent injuries.