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Pain in Cervical Spine

Posted on November 29, 2020 by Dr.Paul

Pain located in the neck is a common condition, and, according to research, as many as 71% of adults will experience neck pain at some point in their lifetime. Pain in the cervical spine (neck region) can develop from several factors, such as sleeping in an awkward position and working on the computer all day to disorders and diseases like osteoarthritis or cervical spondylosis. 

Causes of Neck Pain

The cervical spine consists of bones, ligaments, and muscles that support the head and allow for motion. Any abnormalities, inflammation or injury can cause neck pain or stiffness.

Muscle tension and strain

Muscles can either contract or relax, depending on the message they receive from the brain. Neck tension refers to neck pain that develops when the muscles in the neck cannot relax. This can lead to soreness, muscle spasms and headaches. Common causes of neck tension include:

  • Poor posture
  • Sleeping in an awkward position
  • Repetitive neck movements
  • Teeth grinding
  • Stress 
  • Injuries


A sprain occurs when ligaments in the neck tear, which is often the result of a sudden injury during physical activity or even a minor car accident. Rear-end auto collisions often result in whiplash injury, a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck. Whiplash can also result from sports accidents and falls. 

Worn joints

The discs and joints in the cervical spine slowly degenerate as we age. Cervical spondylosis, commonly called arthritis of the neck, is a general term for age-related wear and tear affecting the spinal discs in the neck. With age, the discs of the cervical spine gradually break down, lose fluid and become stiffer, resulting in neck pain and stiffness.

Herniated disc

A herniated disc occurs when the gel-like center of a spinal disc ruptures through the tough outer wall. This gel material is irritating to the spinal nerves, which results in spinal nerve inflammation and swelling that is caused by the pressure of the herniated disc. If you have a herniated cervical disc, you may feel pain that radiates down your arm and possibly to your hand or feel pain on or near your shoulder blade. Sometimes the pain is accompanied by numbness and tingling in the arm. 

Treatment Options

Treatment will depend on the cause of your neck pain. Treatment options we offer at Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation include:

Schedule an Appointment

If you have acute or chronic cervical pain, contact Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of NY & CT for information on our services or to make an appointment now.