Neck pain

What is considered neck pain?

You may feel a knot, stiffness, tingling, or other discomforts in your neck that make turning your head difficult. The pain may also move to your upper back or your arms.


The kind of pain you feel in and around your neck depends on what is causing the pain. Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty turning your neck
  • Headache
  • Pain in your face
  • Shoulder pain
  • Arm numbness or tingling

Causes and risk factors

Causes of neck pain include:

  • Diseases such as arthritis and meningitis
  • Injuries
  • Muscle strains
  • Pressure on nerves
  • Worn joints

Treatment options

The type of treatment your doctor recommends will depend on the cause of your neck pain and how bad the pain is. Options include:

  • Rest
  • Physical therapy
  • Wearing a brace to keep the neck still so it can heal
  • Steroid injections to reduce swelling
  • Traction, which is a therapy that stretches your neck to provide relief from certain types of pain

Surgery may also be an option in some cases.

Last reviewed: 
May 2018

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