Emergency care is required for a neck injury that causes
damage to the spinal cord. Symptoms of a spinal cord injury include loss of
movement or feeling, numbness, tingling, difficulty controlling the muscles of
the arms or legs, and loss of bowel or bladder control.
Conditions that may cause neck problems
may not be related to an injury.
- Arthritis or
damage to the discs of the neck can cause a pinched nerve. Neck pain caused by
a pinched nerve generally affects one side of the neck and the arm on that
side. Other symptoms may develop, such as numbness, tingling, or weakness in
the arm or hand.
- Meningitis is a serious viral or
bacterial illness that causes inflammation around the tissues of the brain and
spinal cord. Symptoms come on quickly and include severe headache, stiff neck,
fever, and sometimes vomiting. The neck stiffness makes it hard or impossible
to touch the chin to the chest.
flu, which usually is not serious, can cause symptoms
similar to meningitis. When neck pain is caused by flu, the neck and the rest
of the body tend to ache all over, but severe neck stiffness is
- Neck pain that occurs with chest pain may be caused by a
serious problem with the heart, such as a
- Stress and tension may make
the muscles that run from the back of the head across the back of the shoulder
(trapezius muscle) feel tight and painful. You may not be able to move your
head without pain.
- Torticollis is caused by severe muscle
contraction on one side of the neck, causing the head to be tilted to one side.
The chin is usually rotated toward the opposite side of the neck. Torticollis
may be present at birth (congenital) or caused by injury or disease.
Treatment for a neck problem or injury may
include first aid measures, physical therapy, manipulative therapy (such as
chiropractic or osteopathic), medicine, and in some cases surgery. Treatment
- The location, type, and severity of the
- Your age, health condition, and activities (such as work,
sports, or hobbies).
Check your symptoms to decide if and when
you should see a doctor.