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7 Faces of Neck Pain
  • July 10, 2020
  • Written by: Dr. Atul Wankhede

Neck pain, in its most common form takes shape of one or more of the following.

  1. Muscle pain: Aching or sore neck and shoulder muscles may occur in response to overexertion or prolonged physical or emotional stress. The neck muscles may develop hard knots that are tender to the touch, sometimes called trigger points.
  2. Muscle spasm: This is a sudden, powerful tightening of neck muscles. Your neck may hurt, feel tight or knotted and it may be impossible to turn your head. When you wake up with a painful stiff neck, that’s likely a muscle spasm. Muscle spasm can result from a muscle injury, but it may also occur in response to a disk or nerve problem. Emotional stress may trigger a neck muscle spasm, but often there is no clear cause.
    But remember, these spasms are natures way of protecting you from doing further damage to already inflamed parts.
  3. Headache: Neck-related headache is most often felt in the back of the head and upper neck and is usually the result of muscle tension or spasm. The pain is usually dull or aching, rather than sharp, the neck might also feel stiff or tender. Moving your neck makes it worse.
  4. Facet joint pain: Often described as deep, sharp, or aching, facet joint pain typically worsens if you lean your head toward the affected side, and may radiate to your shoulder or upper back.
  5. Nerve pain: Irritation or pinching of the roots of the spinal nerves causes pain that may be sharp, fleeting, severe, or accompanied by pins and needles. Depending on the nerve involved, the pain may shoot down the arm or even into the hand.
  6. Referred pain: Referred pain is pain in one part of the body that is triggered by a problem in another part of the body. For example, neck pain that worsens with exertion may indicate a heart problem, while neck pain that occurs when you eat may stem from a problem in the esophagus.
  7. Bone pain: Pain and tenderness in the cervical vertebrae are far less common than neck pain from the soft tissues. Bone pain needs medical attention because it may signal a more serious health problem.

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