An Overview Of Neck Pain, Its Causes, And Its Treatment

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Neck pain is a common ailment that affects many people, often caused by bad posture or overuse of electronic devices. It can also result from injuries, worn joints, nerve compression, or certain diseases. While mild neck pain can be relieved with simple treatments, severe or long-lasting pain may require medical attention or physical therapy. A physical therapist can create an effective plan to address neck pain, which may include exercises such as head and shoulder rolls, self-massage, seated neck stretches, and aquatic exercises. Applying heat or cold therapy can also provide relief. It is important to recognize the symptoms and seek professional help if necessary, and to maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent future neck pain.

Neck Pain

Many people suffer from stiffness or pain in the neck occasionally. In most cases, it’s due to bad posture or overuse of mobiles or laptops. Sometimes, it may also occur due to injury from a fall or while playing sports. Usually, neck pain is not serious and can be relieved within a few days with normal treatment. But in some cases, neck pain indicates some serious injury or illness and requires a doctor’s advice or treatment. If you are going through such pain for more than a week, is severe, or is accompanied by other symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. A physical therapist can help you eliminate the pain by using natural treatment methods.

What Causes Neck Pain?

Some common causes of neck pain are:

Muscle Tension and Strain

Sleeping in a bad position of your neck can lead to neck and shoulder pain that lasts several days. If you sit at a desk and work for long hours without changing position often enough, the discomfort may eventually lead to pain due to poor posture. Sitting, standing, and walking in poor posture can also lead to neck pain.


The neck is a sensitive area that we often take for granted. The injuries may occur due to vehicle accidents, falls, during sports, or more conditions where the muscles, as well as the ligaments of the neck, may be forced out of their usual range, eventually leaving the body in severe pain. The sudden jerk of the head may cause neck injury leading to pain. It is also known as ‘whiplash.’

Worn joint

Like all the other joints of the human body, neck joints tend to wear down with age. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage between vertebrae to deteriorate. Then the body forms bone spurs that may affect joint motion and cause pain.

Nerve compression

It is commonly known as a pinched nerve. It happens when a nerve in the neck is compressed where it branches away from the spinal cord. It may cause pain that radiates into the shoulder and arm and leads to muscle weakness and numbness.


Some diseases, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer or meningitis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis, may also cause neck pain.

Did You Notice Any Of These Symptoms?

  • Stiff neck
  • Sharp pain
  • General soreness
  • Radicular pain
  • Cervical radiculopathy
  • Headache
  • Trouble with lifting or gripping objects
  • Clicking or grating noises

Say Goodbye To Neck Pain With The Help Of Physical Therapy

Sitting at a desk all day, doing sports, and working out can strain your neck, leading to pain and discomfort. While some conditions may require immediate surgery, in some cases, physical therapy may be very helpful to undo your neck pain back to normal.

A qualified physical therapist can help to create an effective plan for neck pain. If you are suffering from neck pain and looking to find relief from it, a physical therapist may suggest some of the mentioned exercises:

Head and shoulder rolls

With your head upright, lift and roll your shoulders back and forth for shoulder rolls.

Do rolls both forward and backward. Relax between each roll.

For head roll, dip your chin slowly towards your chest and hold for several breaths, lift your head and lower your left ear toward your left shoulder, and hold, then do similarly with your head tilted back. After stretching the neck, roll your head slowly in sections, from tucked in front or titled back toward each of the sides.


Self-massage may be helpful for instant relief from acute neck pain. Lower the shoulders away from the ears, and straighten the neck and back. Then locate the painful area on your neck, press it firmly with your fingers, and gently move your fingers in circular motions. Also, repeat it in the opposite direction.

Apply heat or cold

It is often seen that people apply heat or cold bags to the area of pain.

Applying cold helps reduce pain or swelling, and heat may help relax the muscles and increase blood circulation. For heat or cold therapy, applications are limited to 15-20 minutes with at least a 2-hour break to give the skin time to recover.

Seated neck stretch

To perform seated stretches, sit upright in your chair with your feet flat on the ground. Extend your left arm along with your right side and place your right hand on the top of your head. Tilt your head to the right, applying pressure with your hand to gently intensify the stretch. Hold for a few seconds, and then repeat it for the other side.

Aquatic exercises

Aquatic exercise might be recommended if neck pain is severe or accompanied by shoulder pain. Few exercises can be performed in a pool. The buoyant force one experiences in water can help take pressure off the spinal cord while still allowing the muscles to work.


Almost every one of us has experienced neck pain once in our lifetime. It is common in today’s generation. Having a healthy lifestyle would save you from any neck pain. Creating a comfortable workplace, limiting how long you look at your gadgets, driving for less time, stretching, massages, and physical therapies, and changing your sleeping position would be some of the essential remedies that can help you get rid of the pain.

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