Neck pain is very common. 40-70% of people will have a significant episode of neck pain during their lives. In some cases there may be a history of injury, such as a car accident, but often it may come on for no obvious reason. Being overweight, poor movement and posture during the working day and high stress are all associated with neck pain that persists.
In some cases neck pain can be associated with arm pain, numbness and tingling. This may mean that a nerve in the neck is irritated. Even in such situations, pain will usually resolve over a few weeks or months without any need for intervention. If there is a new sense of weakness in the arms, or perhaps the legs, associated with neck pain then you should contact your GP to discuss it
There has been a lot of research in recent years which has changed the thinking about the best way to deal with neck pain. This information section gives you up-to-date advice to help you to deal with the pain and recover as quickly as possible.
- Most neck pain does not have a serious medical cause.
- Most neck pain eases on its own or with simple advice/ treatment.
- Neck pain is commonly caused by staying in one position for too long, sleeping awkwardly, an accident such as whiplash, and worry, tension and stress.
- An x-ray may show normal changes related to ageing - this is not arthritis.
- Most pain comes from the muscles, ligaments and joints in your back – with normal activity most musculoskeletal pain will settle.
- Tension and stress can be responsible for an increase in or persistence of pain.
- If you are physically fit your pain may be less and you will recover more quickly. This is why exercise is encouraged to reduce the likelihood and severity of future episodes.
Please take a look at the resources below for useful advice on how to manage your neck pain.