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Neck problems can cause a great deal of discomfort and inconvenience. Whiplash, sprains, and degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis are common causes of neck pain, but there are many other things that can cause neck pain. Neck pain that radiates down the arm is often due to a herniated disc or a pinched nerve. Neck pain is slightly more common in women than in men, and can affect all age groups. Nearly 45 percent of working Americans experience neck pain at some point in their careers.
Neck pain can occur from injury, structural damage to the neck, or disease. Common risk factors include:
Conditions that may cause neck pain include:
Neck pain can take different forms depending on the cause and severity. Symptoms include:
The neck has a plentiful blood supply, which helps to heal minor soft tissue injuries that can come about from low-level trauma. Ice, heat, physical therapy, massage, chiropractic treatment, and pain medication can help to alleviate symptoms. Severe neck pain that persists for more than two weeks and is often accompanied by numbness, tingling, or radiating pain may require more serious intervention. X-ray, CT scans, and/or an MRI scan can identify specific causes of neck pain and direct further treatment strategy.