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Symptoms, causes, and treatments for Neck Pain

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Neck Pain

Symptoms of Neck Pain

Neck pain is specific to the lower neck and upper back, where issues with your spine, back muscles, or nerves could contribute to consistent pain. While not uncommon, frequent neck pain is abnormal and may require medical attention.

Strenuous activity or recent, minor injuries can contribute to pain in your neck or upper back, but these pain triggers don’t usually last for more than a few days.

Like back pain, neck pain affects millions of Americans every year according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Causes of Neck Pain

Environmental, lifestyle, and medical disorders could be the underlying cause of your neck pain. You should talk to a doctor if you’re suffering from frequent pain.

Neck pain can be caused by the following:

  • Extended phone use (looking down at your phone)
  • Muscle strain
  • Pinched nerves
  • Poor posture
  • Sitting for long periods of time without moving
  • Sleeping in an awkward position
  • Sports
  • Stress
  • Whiplash

Medical conditions causing your neck pain may include:

  • Abnormal joints
  • Bone spurs
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Herniated disc
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Tumors

Should I Be Worried?

If you have infrequent, short episodes of neck pain, you shouldn’t worry too much. However, if your pain continues for a week or longer, talk to a doctor.

Also, you should seek immediate care if you’ve been in an accident or fall or sustained a blow to your spine.

You may also need immediate medical attention if the following symptoms accompany your neck pain:

  • Can’t move parts of your body
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Inability to sleep due to the pain
  • Incontinence
  • Lumps in your neck
  • Numbness
  • Radiating pain in your arms or legs
  • Vomiting

Schedule a neck pain visit online or from our iOS app today.

Find a neighborhood ZOOM+Care clinic near you in Portland, Seattle, Salem, or Vancouver.

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Neck Pain Prevention Tips

Consider these tips to help prevent neck pain:

  • Lift properly. What did your gym teacher always say? “Bend at the knees!” Well, they were right: don’t lift heavy objects bent over and with your back. Instead, let those legs share the load, and reduce the chances of injuring the muscles and ligaments that can contribute to neck pain.
  • Perfect the proper posture. Work in an office all day? Sit up straight in your chair and keep your feet flat on the floor. Take regular breaks to stretch your neck and back.
  • Practice neck-cercize. It may not be a word, but it’s good advice. Doing daily stretches and strength training on your neck and upper back muscles can prevent future injuries and pain.