ZocdocAnswersBack of neck and head pain, what should I do?

Question

Back of neck and head pain, what should I do?

Sitting at a computer, I lean back and stretch both arms out and to the back to relieve stiffness in my back, but then I experience sharp excruciating pain in back of the neck and head. This pain freezes my head, if I try to move it at all the pain is worse. Eventually it goes away, after much stretching in all directions. Can last from minutes to an hour. And comes back throughout the day for no reason

Answer

Sorry to hear about this pain, and the fact that it seems to come back so easily and affect your quality of life. I recommend that you speak with your doctor about your question. This sort of thing can have many possible explanations, but for those of us who spend long amounts of time sitting at a desk or in other awkward positions, they can often be due to postural problems. Despite all of the progress that has been made with regards to ergonomics, there are many repetitive activities that we do that leave our bodies prone to having problems with muscle tension, pinched nerves, and myriad other possible problems that decrease quality of life and make us feel pain. Usually, if there are no other symptoms, this sort of thing can be worked through with the help of your doctor. He or she can do some simple tests and determine if physical therapy or other interventions may be appropriate to help you feel better. Additionally, there are specialists who can help you design your work space into a more ideal environment to avoid pain and other chronic problems. Obviously, there are other possible explanations for your pain as well, so please speak with your doctor about this problem to get help.

This answer 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 or (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.