It can be a delicate balance. Anything from sleeping wrong to bad posture can cause neck pain, as more than one-quarter of American adults can tell you is true
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.
Why does my neck hurt
Many things can cause your neck to hurt:
- Poor posture
- Repetitive motion
- Bad sleep habits
- Gritting your teeth
- Carrying a heavy shoulder bag or purse
- Pinched nerves
- Sports injuries
- Car accidents involving whiplash
How You Treat It
With treatment, your neck will stop hurting in a few days in most cases. Use medicines like aspirin, Ibuprofen or Tylenol. 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 chiropractor or get a neck message for short-term relief.
When to See Your Doctor
Call the doctor’s office if your neck pain is severe, doesn’t respond to treatment, gets worse over time, or includes numbness, weakness, or tingling and pain in the arms and legs.
Questions your doctor may ask:
- 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 coughing or sneezing make the pain worse?