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The Different Types of Neck Pain Explained

Neck Pain

Is your neck killing you?

Did you know that over 30% of Americans experience some form of debilitating neck pain every year? It's a problem that goes grossly unrecognized in our society, but if you've had neck pain, then you know how awful it can be.

Neck pain is usually a symptom of some other issue - sometimes serious, sometimes not. In this post, we're going to explain some of the different types of neck pain to help you diagnose your problem so you can get neck pain treatment.

Why live with neck pain if you don't have to? Keep reading and get your neck feeling better once and for all.

Muscle Pain and Spasms

Of all the kinds of neck pain, strains, tears, and sprains are the most common causes of neck pain. Your muscles are made up of smaller bundles of fibers that expand and contract when you move your head and neck around. Sometimes, when they're overextended, these tiny fibers can tear and weaken the neck muscles.

The worse the strain or tear is, the worse the inflammation and pain will be and the longer it'll take to recover. If left for long periods of time, these can turn into knots, which are painful to the touch and cause even more soreness.


Spasms, on the other hand, are sudden contractions of the neck muscle. There's no definitive cause for the occurrence of muscle spasms, but they can come from anything from emotional stress to nerve issues. Usually, they don't last long but can cause severe discomfort.

A lot of the time, a muscle spasm will end up giving you a headache in the back of your head and pain in the upper part of your neck. It's a dull, aching pain that makes neck stiffness even worse.

For those that experience these symptoms regularly, managing chronic pain becomes a daily battle. Rest and relaxation are important, but you can use hot/cold therapy, as well as painkillers to make it through.

Facet Joint and Nerve Pain

Your facet joints are the spots in your vertebral column where the vertebrae meet. Injury or arthritis in these joints results in sharp aching in the neck that is made worse when pressure is applied. It can also spread to other areas of your upper back and shoulders.

With nerve pain, it's important to understand the sheer number of nerves branching off of your spinal cord. The pain associated with the inflammation of these nerves is usually described as constant (or sometimes fleeting) dull pain combined with a burning sensation or pins and needles.

Referred Pain

Referred neck pain is when pain is triggered in a different part of your body but shows up in your neck. It could have to do with your heart, your stomach, or some other organ. This is why it's really important to have your neck pain checked out, especially if it's sudden and unexplainable.

Dealing With Different Types of Neck Pain

Now that you know what the different types of neck pain could be, you can learn how to deal with them a bit better. Getting rid of neck pain is easier said than done, but if you know what you're dealing with, then you can get proper treatment.

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