The part of the spine that supports your neck is called the cervical spine. The neck must allow for a significant amount of movement, in addition to supporting the weight of the head. Unlike the rest of the spine, which is relatively protected from injury, the cervical spine has a relatively small number of muscles and ligaments that surround and protect it from injury.
Many people experience neck pain occasionally. In most cases, their neck pain or stiffness is due to poor posture, overuse, injury from a fall or contact sports. Normally, neck pain isn’t a serious condition and most people find relief in a few days. However, in some cases, neck pain can indicate serious injury or illness and require medical care.
When neck pain continues for more than a week, is severe, or is accompanied by other symptoms, immediate medical attention is recommended.
You need to seek treatment when the neck pain may result from abnormalities in the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, or nerves) or in the vertebrae or joints of the cervical spine. The most common causes of neck pain are degenerative diseases (such as arthritis) or soft tissue abnormalities following injury. In some individuals, neck problems may cause pain felt in the upper back, shoulders, or arms.
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