Why Does My Neck Hurt?


Many of us experience neck pain occasionally because of several factors. This pain, in most cases, clears after a few days without treatment. However, in some instances, you may need a trip to an ER near you for treatment.

Regardless of the severity of the treatment, it is important to know what causes the pain and how to get rid of it to prevent further complications.

About Neck Pain?

The neck is the start of your spinal cord and it connects the head to the shoulders and chest. The neck joints and vertebrae allow you to move the head swiftly. However, any abnormalities and inflammation in these discs will cause pain, stiffness and make it hard for you to move your head.

What Causes Neck Pain?

Neck pain can be triggered by several factors that include:
1. Muscle tension and strain
Poor posture and overuse of the neck muscles are the common cause of neck pain. Poor posture can develop when you seat at your desk for an extended period without changing your position or sleeping in a bad position. Bad posture puts pressure on your neck muscles triggering tension and strain.

2. Injury
You can injure your neck in a fall, car accidents, sports, or exercising. An injury can cause the muscles to move outside of the normal range. A neck injury or whiplash is an emergency and you may need to visit the nearest emergency room.

3. Meningitis
This is the inflammation of the membranes (meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Viral and bacterial infections are the common causes of meningitis. When the fluid surrounding the meninges gets infected you may develop a stiff neck among other symptoms.

4. Arthritis
Several types of arthritis can affect your joints and body. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the body symmetrically. It causes pain, swelling of the bone spurs and joints. The pain starts in the hands and spreads to the rest of the body including the neck.

Osteoarthritis affects the protective cartilage that cushions the bones. This causes the bone to wear out which damages the joint causing pain.

5. Osteoporosis
As age, the old bone breaks down quicker than the body can make a new one. This will cause the bone to form holes and become weak and fragile. Osteoporosis causes compression of the spine, leading to pain and neck stiffness.

6. Disc degeneration
Cervical discs degenerate with age causing cervical spondylosis. This causes the spaces between the vertebrae to narrow. leading to pain and stress of the joints.

7. Nerve compression
The disc can protrude due to injury and trauma, adding pressure to the spinal cord. Herniated cervical disc or ruptured disc is a cause of severe pain in the neck, and you need to visit an emergency room near you for treatment.

8. Spinal stenosis
This occurs when the space in the spinal cord narrows, causing pressure on the spinal cord or the nerve roots. Inflammation is a common cause of spinal stenosis.

When is Neck Pain an Emergency?

You need urgent care for neck pain if you have a fever, headache, trouble swallowing and breathing, tingling, and numbness.
If you have neck pain due to a fall or an accident, visit an ER for neck pain.

What Are Your Treatment Options?

Since most of the neck pain is mild to moderate, self-care will suffice, and the pain will clear within a couple of days. If the neck pain continues, you may need a doctor’s assessment and treatment.

Some of the treatment you can use include:

  • Medication. The doctor will prescribe pain medications and muscle relaxants to get rid of the pain.
  • Physical therapy can help you learn proper posture. Neck-strengthening exercises and alignment may also be used to prevent further occurrence.
  • Short-term immobilization can help relieve pressure off the neck. But, use it in moderation to avoid harming the collar.

Preventing and Living with Neck Pain?

Poor posture is the main-culprit together with age-related wear and tear of the joints. Some simple changes in your habits may help.

  • Practice good sitting and sleeping posture, if possible sleep without a pillow.
  • Take frequent breaks and avoid tucking the phone between your ears when you talk.
  • Quit smoking

If you continue experiencing pain, visit Express ER for further assessment and treatment.

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