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What Are the Causes of Burning Neck Pain?

author image Martin Hughes
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.
What Are the Causes of Burning Neck Pain?
Numerous conditions can cause burning neck pain.

Numerous conditions can cause burning neck pain. According to Medline Plus, neck pain varies in severity and quality, depending on the cause of the condition and the tissues involved. Neck pain can be deep, dull, boring, aching, sharp, stabbing or burning. The quality of the neck pain often helps determine the condition that is causing the discomfort. In some cases, burning neck pain may signal a serious underlying condition that requires medical intervention.

Brachial Plexus Injuries

Brachial plexus injuries can cause burning pain in the neck and shoulder. According to Spine Universe, brachial plexus injuries, also known as stingers or burners, are common among athletes participating in contact sports such as football, rugby and hockey. Brachial plexus injuries occur when the head and neck are forced to one side while the opposite shoulder is pushed downward. This motion stretches the nerves of the brachial plexus--a network or nerves that runs through the upper shoulder and into the arm. Possible signs and symptoms associated with brachial plexus injuries include intense, burning pain in the neck that radiates down the arm and fingers on the affected side, along with weakness and numbness in the affected-side arm. Spine Universe states that brachial plexus injuries may be prevented by strengthening the neck muscles and using proper technique when playing contact sports.


Whiplash can cause burning neck pain. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke states that whiplash, also known as a cervical sprain or strain injury, is a soft-tissue injury of the neck. Whiplash is a collection of symptoms that manifest after sudden flexion-extension injuries of the neck. One of the most common causes of whiplash is a rear-end collision motor vehicle accident that injures neck muscles and ligaments, cervical spinal discs, nerve roots exiting the spinal column and the intervertebral joints or the joints between adjacent vertebrae. Common signs and symptoms associated with whiplash include burning neck pain and neck stiffness, headache, dizziness, unusual sensations in the upper extremities, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, fatigue and depression. With appropriate care, most people who suffer a whiplash injury recover within three months of the injury, although some people may experience residual neck pain and headaches long after the accident or injury that caused the whiplash.

Cervical Disc Herniation

A cervical disc herniation can cause burning neck pain. According to the Mayfield Clinic--one of the world's largest neurosurgical practices--a cervical disc herniation occurs when a center of a spinal disc ruptures through the disc's fibrous outer wall and compresses or irritates one of the nerve roots exiting the spinal column. The Mayfield Clinic states that most cervical disc herniations respond well to conservative, nonsurgical treatment methods. Conservative care methods for a cervical disc herniation might include traction and joint mobilization or manipulation. Cervical disc herniation-related symptoms vary based on the location of the herniation and a person's own response to pain. Common signs and symptoms associated with cervical disc herniations include burning neck pain that may radiate into the arm, neck pain with neck movements and numbness, tingling and weakness in the upper extremity on the affected side.

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