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Should I Take My Stiff Neck Seriously?

Neck pain arises from the structures in the neck, including the cervical spine and discs, neck muscles and nerves. It may also arise from adjacent structures of the upper back, the chest, upper arms, jaw and head. Acute neck pain episodes usually do not result in a visit to the doctor, and therefore its prevalence is not known. Occasionally, neck pain may persist for longer periods and may last for several weeks to months. This is chronic neck pain.

Common causes of neck pain are whiplash injury and occupational hazards. Whiplash injury is a post-traumatic injury associated with trauma to the neck during an automobile accident. Occupational hazards arise from awkward posture of the head and neck at work and work involving repetitive and forceful movements of the neck. Other causes of neck pain include stress, degenerative diseases, inflammatory disorders, infections, tumors and other medical conditions.

Pain can be relieved even without medication and usually it resolves spontaneously. However, seek medical care immediately if the neck pain is severe or remains persistent and is not relieved by rest or with medication, if neck pain is caused by serious injury, for example from a fall, and if there are other alarming symptoms associated with the pain like numbness of the arms and/or hands, weakness, swollen lymph nodes on the neck and difficulty urinating or defecating.


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