why does my neck hurt when i turn my head

A stiff neck is typically characterized by soreness and difficulty moving the neck, especially when trying to turn the head to the side. It may also be accompanied by a headache, neck pain, shoulder pain and/or arm pain. In order to look sideways or over the shoulder, an individual may need to turn the entire body instead of the stiff neck. See Stiffness in the neck, or cervical spine, may be accompanied by shoulder pain or headache. Watch: Most people are familiar with the pain and inconvenience of a stiff neck, whether it appeared upon waking up one morning or perhaps developed later in the day after some strenuous activity, such as moving furniture. In most cases, pain and stiffness go away naturally within a week. However, how an individual manages and cares for the stiff neck symptoms can affect pain levels, recovery time, and the likelihood of whether it will return. See By far the most common cause of a stiff neck is a muscle strain or soft tissue sprain. In particular, the levator scapulae muscle is susceptible to injury. Located at the back and side of the neck, the levator scapulae muscle connects the neckвs cervical spine with the shoulder. This muscle is controlled by the third and fourth cervical nerves (C3, C4).


See The levator scapula muscle may be strained throughout the course of many common, everyday activities, such as:
See Falling or sudden impact that pushes the head to the side, such as sports injuries See Turning the head side to side repeatedly during an activity, such as swimming the front crawl stroke Slouching with poor posture while viewing the computer monitor or looking downward at a mobile phone for prolonged periods (sometimes referred to as " See Experiencing excessive stress or anxiety, which can lead to tension in the neck See Holding the neck in an abnormal position for a long period, such as cradling a phone between the neck and shoulder The cause of the stiff neck may be obvious if symptoms start right away, such as after falling during a sporting event. If a stiff neck seems to develop out of nowhere, however, it could be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. See Sometimes neck stiffness is a reaction to an underlying disorder of the cervical spine, which helps support and move the neck in addition to protecting the spinal cord. Several examples of cervical spine disorders that can cause neck muscles to painfully spasm or tighten include:.


The protective outer portion of a disc in the cervical spine breaks down, and the inner portion leaks out, causing compression and inflammation in nearby tissues. See. As discs lose hydration and height over time, pressure increases on nearby joints, nerves, and soft tissues, such as ligaments and muscles. This process can result in neck pain and stiffness. See. Arthritic breakdown of the cervical facet joints between vertebral bones often occurs along with other degenerative conditions, such as spinal stenosis, and anatomical changes, such as bone spurs. See This is not a complete list of conditions that can cause a stiff neck. While rare, several other possibilities exist, such as an infection or tumor. See A stiff neck can vary in intensity, ranging anywhere from an annoying discomfort to extremely painful, sharp, and limiting. Typically, attempting to turn a stiff neck to a particular side or direction will eventually result in so much pain that the motion must be stopped. See The amount of reduction in neck motion can affect the individualвs activity levels. For example, if the head cannot be significantly turned in one direction without excruciating pain, driving will likely need to be avoided until symptoms improve.


See Oftentimes, taking it easy for a day or two is all that is needed to give the neckвs soft tissues a chance to heal. In cases where pain is significant, an individual may want to use an over-the-counter pain medication or apply. See Wearing a cervical collar to immobilize a stiff neck is not advised. Rather, an individual with a stiff neck should try to stick to normal activity levels if possible, especially after the first day or two. See If a stiff neck has not shown improvement after a week, it should be checked by a doctor. Also, regardless of how long it has lasted, a stiff neck accompanied by any red flag symptomsвsuch as a fever, headache, nausea or vomiting, or unexplained sleepinessвshould be seen by a medical professional immediately. The neck is a pretty amazing part of your body, but it has a tough job. It holds up the weight of a bowling ball all day long. The bones at the top of your spine, along with your muscles and ligaments, support your head, which weighs about 11 pounds. It can be a delicate balance. Anything from sleeping wrong to bad posture can cause, as more than one-quarter of American adults can tell you is true.


What Causes Neck Pain? Bad Gritting your Carrying a heavy Car accidents involving With treatment, your neck will stop hurting in a few days in most cases. Use medicines like, or. Put an ice pack on your neck for the first 2 to 3 days to help lower swelling. After that, use moist heat, like a hot shower or a heating pad to help it heal. There are also exercises you can do at home (or in front of your computer at work) to gently stretch your neck muscles. You can also visit a or get a neck message for short-term relief. Call the doctorБs office if your neck pain is severe, doesnБt respond to treatment, gets worse over time, or includes numbness, or tingling and pain in the arms and legs. When did the pain first start? Have you been injured? Do you have numbness or weakness in your arms or hands? Does moving your neck in a certain way make things better or worse? Does or make the pain worse? Your doctor has many tools to figure out whatБs wrong. He could order X-rays, an, EMG ( ), or tests. Some treatments could include muscle relaxants, a padded neck collar, or traction. In rare situations, shots of or even surgery may be needed.

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