The Common Causes of Neck Pain: A Basic Guide

At least 1 in 5 people have neck pain right now, and 54% have had it in the last 6 months. It’s a common issue and the 4th leading cause of disability.

There are 2 main types of neck pain; acute and chronic. Acute symptoms go away in weeks or days, but chronic pain lasts for months or years.

Have you been asking, “why does my neck hurt?” it’s important to find an answer quickly because it could be anything from muscle tension and strain to cancer and heart attacks.

Read on to learn the common causes of neck pain. The sooner you find the culprit of your condition, the sooner you can find relief

Muscle Tension and Strain

This is one of the most common neck pain causes, and it’s often temporary. It can result from poor posture, sitting too long, sleeping in an improper position, or jerking your neck during exercise.


There are several types of neck injuries, and the best method for getting rid of the neck pain they cause depends on which one you’ve experienced.

Sudden jerking can lead to whiplash. You may hurt the muscles and ligaments in your neck after a fall or while playing sports.

Fracturing your neck bones or cervical vertebrae is serious because it affects the spinal cord. It increases the risk for further damage and can even cause paralysis and impaired neurological function.


Meningitis is one of the most serious causes of neck pain.

It comes from an inflammation of the tissue around the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include pain, headaches, nausea, vomiting, fevers, and a sensitivity to light.

56.7% of cases are viral, 21.8% of cases are bacterial, and 10-15% of bacterial cases are fatal. If you notice the symptoms, see a doctor right away.

Cervical Spondylosis or Radioplasty

Cervical spondylosis is also own as cervical disk degeneration. It occurs when the disks between the vertebrae and the neck break down and put pressure on the roots. This causes pain that can go from the neck down to the arms.

Cervical radiculopathy is another name for a pinched nerve. It causes pain in the neck and arms but can have other symptoms such as muscle weakness, numbness, and tingling in the arms and hands.

Heart Attack

Pay attention to the symptoms that come along with your neck pain. If you have shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, or arm and joint pain, you may be having a heart attack.

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows and puts pressure on the nerve. It can be caused by other issues such as osteoarthritis, spinal tumors, birth defects, and Paget’s disease.

Strenuous activity typically makes the pain worse, but a bit of proper posture can relieve it.


Approximately 4% of all cancer cases in the US occur in the head or neck, affecting over 68,000 patients.

Symptoms include growths on the head or neck, mouth sores, voice changes, difficulty breathing, jaw pain, fever, fatigue, and weight loss.

Once you’ve found the cause, find a pain doctor to get the right neck pain treatment.

More Causes of Neck Pain

Neck pain is one of the most common types and can be acute or chronic. The first step in treating it is finding out what’s causing it.

Many causes of neck pain are easy to fix, such as muscle strain and injuries. Some are more serious, such as meningitis, heart attacks, and cancer.

Read the rest of our content for more pain management tips.