Neck pain is discomfort in any of the structures in the neck. These include the muscles, nerves, bones (vertebrae), and the disks between the bones. Neck pain may arise due to muscular tightness in both the neck and upper back, or pinching of the nerves emanating from the cervical vertebrae. Joint disruption in the neck creates pain, as does joint disruption in the upper back.
The head is supported by the lower neck and upper back, and it is these areas that commonly cause neck pain. The top three joints in the neck allow for most movement of the neck and head. The lower joints in the neck and those of the upper back create a supportive structure for the head to sit on. If this support system is affected adversely, then the muscles in the area will tighten, leading to neck pain.
When your neck is sore, you may have difficulty moving it, especially turning to one side. Many people describe this as having a stiff neck. If neck pain involves nerves, you may feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm, hand, or elsewhere. Neck muscles can be strained from poor posture — whether it’s leaning into your computer at work or hunching over your workbench at home. Wear-and-tear arthritis also is a common cause of neck pain. Causes of neck pain include:
- Abnormalities in the bone or joints
- Poor posture
- Degenerative diseases
- Muscle strain