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Common Causes of Neck Pain

Causes of Neck PainNeck pain is more prevalent than ever before. One recent study showed that neck pain affects upwards of 40% of all of America’s labor force, with females experiencing this type of pain more often than males. One reason neck pain is on the rise in the United States is due to increasing numbers of people sitting in front of computers and using handheld digital devices for several hours every day. Another very important factor in these recent statistics is that Americans’ collective lifestyle is getting more sedentary. In fact, when surveyed, the majority of participants said they spend more than two hours per day either sitting at a computer or hovering over a cell phone, tablet, or other device. Another significant reason for the increase in neck pain sufferers in the U.S. is the heavy backpacks or brief cases many of us carry to work or school these days. Following is further information from spinal surgeons in New Jersey designed to help those suffering from neck pain understand the common causes of their pain, as well as learn of the treatment options available to them.

Common causes

Along with the causes mentioned above, following is a list of the most common causes of neck pain:

Nerve compression:

Bone spurs or herniated discs in the neck can press on nerves, causing significant pain.


There are any number of injuries that a person can sustain to the back, shoulders, or neck that can lead to pain in the neck area. Most commonly, injuries to the neck occur from sports injuries and car accidents in which an injury known as ‘whiplash’ occurs. Whiplash is when the head is jerked backward and forward, causing strain to soft tissues in the neck. This type of injury, though difficult to detect, can be quite painful.

Muscle strain:Causes of Neck Pain smartphones

Repetitive or overuse of muscles can cause neck pain, particularly in our world of technological devices such as handheld cell phones, laptops, and computers. Looking down at a device for too long, or for too many hours in a day or week, can lead to significant pain and even long-term problems with the neck.

Worn joints due to age:

Aging joints can become worn, which can lead to neck pain from deterioration of cushions in the bones (cartilage) which causes bones to wear down from moving against each other.


Some diseases such as cancer, meningitis, and rheumatoid arthritis, can lead to neck pain that can be quite severe in nature.

Treatment options

Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options available to neck pain sufferers that can treat the underlying causes of their neck pain, thereby alleviating or even eliminating their pain.

Over-the-counter pain relievers:

Some pain relievers than can be purchased over-the-counter may help to relieve neck pain. These include ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and naproxen sodium (Aleve).

Physical therapy:

Physical therapy guided by a trained physical therapist can help to strengthen neck muscles and correct posture. A physical therapist may also use such treatment options as ice, heat, and electrical stimulation.

Steroid injections:

A physical therapist can inject corticosteroid medications into neck muscles or near the nerve roots in order to alleviate neck pain.


Though surgery is often a last resort, some patients who suffer from recurrent or long-term neck pain may turn to this option in order to relieve their severe or constant pain. Surgical procedures can relieve nerve root or spinal cord compression.

TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation):

Electrodes placed on the skin near the area of your neck pain will deliver tiny electrical impulses that may help to relieve mild or even moderate suffering.

Short-term immobilization:

A soft collar may be used to support the neck in order to take pressure off the surrounding structures. A spinal surgeon will know how long such a device should be utilized.

Neck pain can be a significant deterrent to living a full life, particularly if it is recurrent or continuous. If you suffer from neck pain that lasts longer than a week, your best option is to consult with a doctor. Before your symptoms worsen, contact a top spinal surgeon near you to schedule a consultation in order to determine the underlying cause of your neck pain.