ZocdocAnswersWhy does my neck hurt on a daily basis?

Question

Why does my neck hurt on a daily basis?

Right now I'm at the age of 19, and for the past year-and-a-half I've been experiencing minor neck pain on a regular basis. It didn't used to be daily, but now it seems like it is becoming daily. Sometimes it's not that bothersome, and sometimes it's so bad it makes both my back and arms hurt.

Answer

Neck pain is a common complaint encountered in the outpatient setting. First it is important to figure out if the pain is originating in the neck itself or in the muscles of the upper back. Musculoskeletal injuries often involve strain of the trapezius or muscles that run parallel to the spine, as well as the ligaments that connect the different parts of the spine. Musculoskeletal injuries typically resolve in several weeks as long as the motion or activity that caused the initial injury isn't repeated (consciously or unconsciously). Patients with these injuries can almost always find a position that leaves them comfortable, and can identify positions (typically those that stretch the muscles) that bring about more pain. More rarely, neck pain originates from something other than musculoskeletal strain, such as a herniated spinal disk, fractured bone, or inflammation of the joints in the cervical spine. Pain radiating from the neck down the arms can be a sign that a disk is impinging on a nerve root. Since the pain has been going on for a while now, you should see your primary care physician or a rheumatologist. These doctors can get more details about the nature of your pain and do a physical exam and perform imaging studies to help them figure out the cause of your pain and get you the correct treatment.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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