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Causes of Sudden Neck Pain

by
author image Helen Nnama
Helen Nnama has six years of writing experience. She is a health contributor to TBR Journal, editor of fertility confidential manuals, published poet, and a greeting card writer. She has a B.S. in microbiology, an M.S. in epidemiology, and is an M.D. candidate. A former state HIV/AIDS epidemiologist and NIA fellow at Johns Hopkins, she has research experience with published work.
Causes of Sudden Neck Pain
Sudden neck pain can occur due to multiple reasons. Photo Credit neck image by DXfoto.com from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Neck pain is pain that occurs in any of the neck structures including the muscles, the nerves, the spinal vertebrae, and the disks between these vertebrae. Pain or discomfort in areas such as the shoulder, jaw, head, and upper arms can also result in neck pain. A sudden neck pain may be characterized with a numbness or loss of strength in the arms or hands. The pain may be felt like a shooting pain that goes into the shoulder and down the arm. MayoClinic.com reports that neck pain may stem from a variety of causes.

Muscle Strains

This is the most common cause of sudden neck pain, as described by MayoClinic.com. Daily activities such as sitting on the desk for hours and poor posture can cause the neck muscles to get fatigued and strained. If the overuse is continued, it can lead to chronic pain.

Worn Joints

MayoClinic.com states that worn joints are another cause of neck pain. Like the other joints of the body, neck joints undergo wear and tear with increasing age. This can cause osteoarthritis in the neck, which could be the cause of the neck pain.

Nerve Compression

When the space between the neck's vertebrae gets reduced, the nerves branching out from the spinal cord are compressed. MayoClinic.com notes that this can cause neck pain. A variety of causes can reduce this space, including stiffened disks. Aging can make the cushioning disks between the vertebrae dry and stiff, narrowing these spaces. A herniated disk may also cause neck pain. It occurs when the inner gel-like substance in the disk comes out through the disk's outer covering. If an individual has arthritis in the neck joints, bony spurs or bony growths may press on the nerves and cause neck pain.

Injuries and Diseases

Accidents and falls can cause neck injuries such as fractures, whiplash, and blood vessel injuries, according to Medline Plus, a publication of the National Institutes of Health. These can also lead to neck pain. Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the neck joints causing pain. Meningitis, which is a disease affecting the lining of the brain and spinal cord, can also cause pain and stiffness in the neck. Neck pain can also be caused by cancerous tumors in the spine.

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