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What Are Common Symptoms of Neck Pain?

Neck pain is a very common symptom that most adults will experience at some point in their lives. It can involve just the neck or travel into the shoulders and radiate down the arms. The pain may feel sharp or dull or even like an electric shock. Neck pain may as well lead to other symptoms such as headaches, muscle weakness and/or numbness in the hands.

Neck Stiffness

A stiff neck is typically described by soreness and difficulty moving the neck, particularly when trying to turn the head to the side. It may also be accompanied by a headache, neck pain, shoulder pain and/or arm pain. In order to look sideways or over the shoulder, an individual may need to turn the entire body instead of the stiff neck.



The most common types of headaches are sinus, tension, and migraine headaches. Sinus headaches usually happen when there is a noted infection or pressure in the sinuses. Tension headaches occur when the muscles in the head and neck overexert and tighten. Migraines come on when very sensitive nerve endings in the brain send signals that cause pain.


Poor posture is one of the leading causes of neck pain. As we become more sedentary the muscles in our upper back and neck tighten. Failure to properly stretch along with poor posture overexerts the muscles which then causes neck pain. Physical therapy is a leading form of relieving neck pain as a licensed physical therapist helps strengthen and stretch the muscles in the neck along with teaching proper posture.

Senior Yoga

Bulging/Herniated Disc

A bulging or herniated disc especially around the region of the neck can cause severe pain. Bulging or herniated discs usually occur due to injury. The vertebrae in the spine put pressure on the nerve ending that run in the spinal canal thus causing pain. Orthopedic surgeons will either perform a spinal fusion or disc replacement if the patient’s symptoms progress.


Osteoarthritis affects millions of Americans. This occurs when the cartilage that exists between the joints which has a purpose of providing cushion and insulation wears or completely deteriorates. Once the cartilage has worn out, usually due to wear and tear over time, the joint becomes inflamed causing extreme pain. The most common forms of this disease affect the hip, spine, knees, elbows and hands.


Degenerative Disc Disease

this disease specifically refers to the spine. It is very common affecting millions of Americans and it occurs when the cushion in between your vertebrae wears away due to age, overuse or herniation. Degenerative disc disease is generally treated with physical therapy as a licensed doctor of physical therapy can help stretch and strengthen the muscles around the back allowing the patient to have more mobility and strength.

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