Understanding the Different Types of Neck Pain

Identify the Cause of Your Neck Pain for a Better Treatment Plan

Neck pain is a common medical condition. It can take on mild to severe forms that range anywhere from a dull sensation to intense nerve pain that may radiate into other parts of the body, such as your arm and shoulder. Since there are wide variations of injuries, diseases and disorders that can lead to pain located in the neck, it is important to understand the different types of neck pain and implement the most effective treatment plan. Visit a qualified physical therapist for a proper evaluation to get the best and safest care possible. 

Common Types of Neck Pain

Your neck is an extremely complex structure that is composed of a series of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and nerves, in addition to bones or vertebrae that are stacked on top of each other. Between each vertebra is a soft disc that helps you bend your neck and absorb shock. When one of these structures becomes injured or inflamed, neck pain is likely to occur as a result. 

Read on to learn more about common types of neck pain so you can seek the right treatment under the guidance of a medical professional: 

  • Muscle Pain or Spasm: You may experience neck pain related to overexertion or prolonged periods of physical or emotional stress. In these cases, your neck muscles may develop what are known as, ‘knots’. A muscle spasm is an intense tightening of these knots that may make it difficult for you to turn your head. This type of neck pain can be the result of a muscle injury or may also indicate a disc or nerve problem. 
  • Headaches: A headache that is felt in the back of your head, down to your upper neck is another common type of neck pain. These headaches are usually the result of a muscle spasm. Though, unlike a muscle spasm, the feeling is often dull, rather than sharp and your neck may feel very tender.  
  • Facet Joint Pain: If you have arthritis in your facet joints or the vertebrae in your neck, the pain may feel more intense in the morning or after a long period of inactivity. The pain is often deep and sharp and can feel worse when you position your head towards the affected side. This type of neck pain may also be felt in your shoulder and upper back. 
  • Nerve Pain: If your spinal nerves are pinched or irritated, this can cause sharp neck pains that can be intense or fleeting and may also be accompanied by a tingling sensation. Depending on the nerve, you may feel nerve pain down one of your arms or even in your hand.   
  • Referred Pain: Sometimes, if you experience pain in one part of your body, pain can also be triggered somewhere else entirely. This phenomenon is called, referred pain. If your neck pain is the result of referred pain such as experiencing symptoms brought on by exertion, it may indicate an issue with your heart, and so on. 
  • Bone Pain: One of the more serious types of neck pain is when it is felt in the spinal vertebrae. While less common than experiencing neck pain from the soft tissues in your neck, bone pain needs immediate medical attention as it may indicate a much more serious health condition. 

While your neck is a strong and flexible structure, it is still highly susceptible to injury and other vulnerabilities attributed to normal processes such as aging. Fortunately, most cases of neck pain can be resolved with the right treatment plan. If you are experiencing neck pain, schedule a visit with our board certified physicians and licensed physical therapists from Medical Rehabilitation Centers of Pennsylvania. We are committed to working closely with all our patients who can expect to receive high-quality and affordable services that are modified on a case-by-case basis accordingly. Our goal is to help you restore complete function and provide effective pain management solutions no matter what your symptoms or needs may be. 

Book an appointment for physical therapy treatment today. Contact us at the location of your choice or complete our online form and we will get back to you soon.

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