Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Where is the pain in my neck coming from?"


I get sharp pains in my neck if I move it quickly. If I look to one side or the other fast my neck really tightens up and there is pain. Is this some kind of condition? How can I get this taken care of?


You should definitely go to see your primary care doctor about this issue. They will be able to examine your neck carefully and help you figure out what is going on. One of the conditions that your primary care doctor will consider include something called paraspinal muscle spasm.

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This is a condition in which stress or strain or bad posture cause the muscles that run up and down the sides of the neck, called the paraspinal muscles, to cramp up. When this occurs, usually heat applied to the area as well as standard anti inflammatory medications like ibuprofen are helpful, but your doctor will make a specific recommendation in your case. Another condition that will need to be ruled out is a pinched nerve in the neck. This causes pain similar to the pain of a muscle spasm, except that there also may be numbness or tingling or weakness in your hands or arms. If your doctor diagnoses you with a pinched nerve, the treatment will depend on how severe the symptoms are and how long they have been going on for. Simple cases respond to rest and anti inflammatory medications, but more complex cases may require an MRI and a referral to an orthopedic specialist.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.