6 Medical Conditions That May Be Causing Your Neck Pain

The idiom “pain the in the neck” means that someone or something is very irritating, aggravating, or annoying. When you actually have a pain in your neck, it can also be irritating, aggravating, and annoying.

Neck pain is widespread with about a third of the US population experiencing it every year. There are many causes for neck pain and, fortunately, many options to treat it. Neck pain is different for different people. For some, it can be dull and achy and brought on by a certain movement. For others, it can be intense, constant, and interfere with daily life activities.

There are many reasons for neck pain including overuse, traumatic injury, aging ligaments and tendons, and underlying medical conditions. The most common medical conditions that lead to neck pain include:

Neck arthritis

Neck arthritis, also called neck osteoarthritis and cervical spondylosis, is a common condition in people over 50 where the cartilage lining the joints of the spine wears down. As a result of the deteriorating cartilage, the bones in your spine rub together, causing pain and stiffness. Neck arthritis is usually worse in the morning, after strenuous activity, and after prolonged periods of sitting or inactivity.


Fibromyalgia is a long-term chronic pain disorder that affects more than 3 million people in the United States. It’s characterized by widespread muscle pain and tenderness, usually in the elbows, knees, and neck.  

Degenerative disc disease

Over time, many things in your body start to fail or wear down, including the vertebrae and discs in your neck. Discs help the vertebrae absorb shock and stay flexible and resilient. When they wear away, they don’t work as well, resulting in neck pain and stiffness, and sometimes bone spurs.

Neck sprains or strains

A neck sprain is the overstretching or tearing of ligaments surrounding your neck, and a neck strain is an overstretching of muscles or tendons . Everyone experiences muscle sprains or strains at some point. They can be the result of the hours you spend hunched over your computer or digital device, poor postural habits, overuse during a sporting event, or moving a heavy item.


Infections like meningitis and other infections of the spine can be caused by bacterial infections, fungus, or tuberculosis. Most spinal infections start as an infection in another part of your body and then spread to the spine. You need to have a spinal infection treated right away because, in addition to neck pain, it can also cause more serious health issues such as neurologic damage and even death.  

Pinched nerve

A pinched nerve, also called nerve compression and radiculopathy, is when one of the nerves that branches out from your spinal cord through a vertebra get compressed. This compression can happen from overuse or simply by sleeping in the wrong position.

Symptoms of a pinched nerve include sharp pain, numbness, and feelings of pins and needles when you try to move or turn your neck.

Treatment for neck pain

While some types of neck pain go away on their own with rest, other types require intervention to get relief. Fortunately, there are treatment options for all kinds of neck pain.

At Joyce Family Chiropractic and Wellness, a provider reviews your medical history and neck pain issues, and recommends a personalized treatment plan that may involve one or more of the following treatments:

For more information on the causes and treatment for neck pain, call Joyce Family Chiropractic and Wellness in Mount Greenwood, Illinois, or make an appointment online.

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