What are Common Symptoms of Neck Pain?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2019
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Symptoms of neck pain go beyond simply feeling intense discomfort in the neck, but may also include pain and soreness in the arms and shoulders. Pain may range from a burning pain in the neck area to tingling or even numbness that extends from the neck to the extremities. Symptoms may further be accompanied by secondary symptoms, such as dizziness, blurred vision or nausea. The specific location, type and degree of pain felt largely depends on the causes of neck pain, which may include injury, stress or disease. Symptoms of neck pain may also be described as an uncomfortable stiffness that does not allow free movement of the neck or head, and may even be accompanied by headaches in some people.

Most people have felt the symptoms of neck pain before. Severe neck stiffness from sleeping in an uncomfortable position or on an uncomfortable surface is a common cause of this type of pain. Such neck pain is no cause for alarm and, although it is quite uncomfortable to bear, is usually only temporary.


Neck and back pain often happen simultaneously. When this occurs, the symptoms of neck pain may include back spasms, as well as extreme discomfort or a tight, sharp pain in the neck area. This may be due to a back injury, a compressed nerve, a muscle strain or may even be due to emotional stress. Poor posture may also contribute to very painful symptoms of neck pain. Such occurs as the result of an imbalance of weight being put on the spinal cord.

The symptoms of neck pain are frequently treated with over-the-counter pain medications. For some people, applying heat or ice to the painful area of the neck may help, as does massaging the affected area of the neck. For others, however, symptoms are not so easily relieved. This is particularly true in cases where trauma has triggered symptoms of neck pain and inflammation has resulted. Correctly diagnosing and treating neck pain when it is first realized is important in not only healing the neck, but in correcting the underlying cause triggering the symptoms of neck pain so as to avoid further injury or symptoms turning into a chronic condition.

Lingering symptoms of aching neck pain accompanied by headache and neck stiffness may be the sign of a very serious infection known as meningitis. Other symptoms accompanying this specific type of neck pain may include fever, confusion and a sensitivity to light. Health experts recommend that such pain be immediately addressed with a doctor, particularly if there is no other reasonable explanation for these symptoms, such as a fall or other trauma.



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