Acute neck pain may be caused by simple explanations such as muscle sprains or strains resulting from sleeping in the wrong position or even carrying something heavy. Such neck pain usually heals over time, in as little as a few days or weeks.
On the other hand, chronic neck pain may develop over time and be caused by a variety of cervical spine problems.
Here are some of these more common neck pain causes:
Cervical herniated disc. When the soft inner core of the disc extrudes through the outer core of the disc and presses on the nerve, a cervical herniated disc occurs and typically results in pain radiating to the arm.
Cervical degenerative disc disease. Most frequently resulting in a stiff neck, this condition occurs when the intervertebral disc begins to degenerate, potentially leading to arm, neck and shoulder pain marked by numbness, tingling and weakness.
Cervical foraminal stenosis. Referring to a narrowing of the cervical disc space, this condition typically results in neck pain that develops gradually over time and is often tied to certain types of activities, like riding a bike or holding the neck in an extended position.
Cervical stenosis with meylopathy. With age, degenerative changes to the spine may result in a tightening and pinching of the spinal cord, prompting numbness, tingling or radiating pain in the arm, hands and even the leg.
Cervical osteoarthritis. Occurring when the facet joints in the cervical spine begin to degenerate, this neck pain is known for radiating to the shoulder and between the shoulder blades and for feeling worse in the morning and at the end of the day.
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