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What are the symptoms of neck pain?

Symptoms of neck pain may vary depending on the cause of the pain. Here are some examples of common causes of neck pain and the symptoms associated with it.
  • Whiplash, a sudden back-and-forth injury to the neck's soft tissues, may cause neck stiffness and pain 24-48 hours after the injury.
  • Neck arthritis (cervical spondylosis) may cause neck pain and stiffness that worsens with activity: numbness and weakness in arms, hands, and fingers; muscle spasms in neck and shoulders; headaches; trouble walking or loss of balance and a grinding feeling or popping sound in the neck with movement.
  • A pinched nerve in the neck can also cause pain that extends down the arm.
  • Muscle strains in the neck, often caused by sitting in awkward positions for long periods of time, may lead to neck pain and stiffness.
  • Fibromyalgia, which causes widespread pain in the body, including the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the neck.
  • A slipped (herniated) or ruptured disk in the vertebrae of the neck may cause pain when making arm movements, numbness along the arm or deep pain around the shoulder blade. 
Your doctor may be able to determine the cause of your neck pain by taking a thorough medical history and performing a physical exam. Once the cause of the pain is determined, you doctor can recommend the best strategy for relieving your pain.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.