It is not uncommon to have neck pain without a clear reason. A minor
injury may have occurred without your knowledge. Poor posture or improper
movement over a period of time may cause neck or back pain. Pain may be caused
by overuse or misuse of the neck muscles or by poor posture, such as:
Holding your head in a forward posture or odd
position while working, watching TV, or reading.
Watching TV or
reading while lying down.
Sleeping on a pillow that is too high,
too flat, or doesn't support your head.
Sleeping on your stomach
with your neck twisted or bent.
Spending long periods of time
resting your forehead on your upright fist or arm ("thinker's
Stress. Tension may develop in the muscles that run from
the back of the head across the back of the shoulder (trapezius muscle). These
muscles may feel tight and painful.
Working or exercising using
your upper body and arms.
Pain is a normal part of life: a skinned knee, a tension headache, a bone fracture. But sometimes pain becomes chronic -- a problem to explore with your doctor. WebMD asked Eduardo Fraifeld, MD, president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, to help readers understand acute vs. chronic pain.