5 Common Neck Pain Triggers

5 Common Neck Pain Triggers

Did you know over one-quarter of adults in the United States experience neck pain? Neck pain can make you miserable. And since neck pain can involve your spine, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves, it can negatively impact your quality of life.

The neck pain specialists at Boston PainCare in Waltham, Natick, and Concord, Massachusetts, specialize in diagnosing and treating neck pain. Our team bases your comprehensive treatment on the underlying cause of your neck pain. 

Learning about the causes of neck pain can help you get a head start on treatment. Keep reading to find out five of the most common neck pain triggers and the steps you can take now to help.

1. Pinched nerve

Your neck is made up of seven vertebrae in the cervical spine (the area between the base of your skull and the top of your shoulders). Special discs between these vertebrae absorb shock from impact activities, like jumping, walking, and running. 

If one of these discs moves out of place or bulges, the nerves nearby get compressed. We commonly refer to this as a “pinched” nerve, which causes pain. When you move your head, it can make the pain worse.

What can help:

Pinched cervical nerves often resolve without medical intervention. However, it doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it can take several days and sometimes weeks for the pain to improve. 

In the meantime, you can try to minimize your pain with these quick tips: 

If the pain doesn’t resolve, be sure to see a neck pain specialist for an evaluation. 

2. Muscle or tendon strain

You can get neck pain from muscle or tendon strains when you engage in daily activities, like craning your neck to see around the person in front of you in a line or bending over your computer or phone for too long. If the pain is severe, see the team at Boston PainCare for an evaluation.

What can help:

Rest is the best remedy for a strained neck muscle or tendon. You can also follow the same tips listed for helping a pinched nerve to ease your pain.

3. Poor posture

Good neck posture keeps your head in a neutral position, balancing its weight evenly on your spine. Poor neck posture, on the other hand, triggers neck pain. Resting your head too far forward requires the muscles in your neck and upper back to add their support. That can lead to strains and pulls. Poor neck posture also causes your spinal cord and nerves to stretch out of their normal position, increasing your risk of a pinched nerve. 

What can help:

Physical therapy can strengthen your neck, chest, and upper back muscles and improve posture. You can also improve workspace ergonomics to help keep your neck and head in the correct position. 

4. Whiplash (sudden and forceful head movement)

You don’t need to be in a car accident to injure your neck. Any sudden, forceful movement of your head can trigger neck pain. Sports injuries, especially from contact sports, collisions, and physical abuse or trauma can also give you whiplash-like pain.

What can help:

This type of pain requires an evaluation from a specialist. Be sure to schedule an appointment right away if you experience whiplash. Depending on the severity, you may need specialized care or you might be able to recover without treatment. 

After meeting with our neck specialists, here are some things to try at home if you have whiplash: 

Make sure to always get approval from our neck specialists before trying any exercises or stretching for whiplash. 

5. Underlying health condition

Chronic neck pain can sometimes be caused by an underlying health condition, like rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, osteoporosis, spinal stenosisherniated discsdegenerative disc disease, or congenital spine disorders.

What can help:

Chronic neck pain that lasts for more than a week or gets worse necessitates a visit to a neck specialist. Our providers at Boston PainCare review your medical history and conduct a comprehensive examination to get to the root of your neck pain. The correct treatment for this type of neck pain depends on the underlying condition and the severity of your pain. 

To learn more about the causes of neck pain, schedule an appointment online or over the phone at a Boston PainCare office in Waltham, Natick, or Concord, Massachusetts. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

Can Posture Changes Help My Back Pain?

Chances are, you don’t think about your posture as often as you should. Good posture plays an essential role in maintaining your wellness and easing back pain. Here’s how small changes can make a big impact.

How Caffeine Can Trigger Migraines

If you get migraines, you’ve probably heard mixed messages about caffeine and whether it’s helpful or at the root of these painful headaches. Here’s a look at the link between caffeine migraine pain.

Why Can't I Sleep and What Can Help?

Not being able to fall or stay asleep isn’t just exhausting — it’s bad for your health! If you’re struggling with sleep, keep reading to learn why and how we can help you get some much-needed Zzz’s.

How Does a Trial Spinal Cord Stimulation Work?

If you’re considering spinal cord stimulation to alleviate chronic pain, you first undergo a trial period with a temporary device before having the permanent stimulator placed. Take a closer look at what’s involved in this procedure.