Orthopedic Conditions

Cervical Spondylosis To Meningitis: Know The 4 Common Causes Of Neck Pain

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Neck pain is quite common but ignored the most. People tend to believe that it can occur due to stress, high BP or physical exertion, and applying pain-relieving balm or gulping down a few painkillers can do the trick. Although mild to moderate neck pain can alleviate with treatment within a week, immediate medical attention is necessary for neck pain accompanied by severe symptoms. We have explained their causes and symptoms here.

4 Common Neck Pain Causes

Surprisingly, neck pain affects 75% of the population worldwide. Neck pain can be due to various reasons leading to the degeneration of vertebrae, muscles, ligaments and nerves forming the cervical spine, the scalp and the head. Common reasons for neck pain include:

1. Cervical Spondylosis

Ageing degenerates the cervical discs, causing cervical spondylosis or osteoarthritis of the neck. In addition, this condition narrows the space between the vertebrae bones, adding stress to the joints, muscles and nerves.


  • Neck pain
  • Neck pain with tingling or numbness in the legs, shoulders or arms
  • Headaches
  • Pain during movements

2. Muscle Strain or Tension

Muscle strain or tension occurs due to

  • Poor posture while sleeping, sitting and working
  • Sudden jerk in the neck while working out
  • Overusing the neck muscles during strenuous activities and repetitive actions


  • Muscle soreness
  • Stiff neck
  • Tension headache
  • Nagging neck pain

3. Injury

Your neck is vulnerable to accidents like sports injuries and falls where the ligaments and muscles move out of normal range with sudden jerks. Such neck injuries are called whiplash injuries.


  • Neck pain with head or neck movements
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stiff neck

4. Meningitis

Meningitis is inflammation in the thin tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. People with this fatal condition experience the following:

  • Sharp stabbing pain in the neck
  • Stiff neck with decreased range of motion
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Light sensitivity

This neck pain often aggravates by twisting, extending or moving the cervical spine, either up and down or side to side.

Other Causes of Neck Pain

Listed below are other causes of neck pain:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis - It causes pain in the neck joints and bone spurs.
  • Osteoporosis - It can weaken the bones in the neck and cause minor fractures and neck pain.
  • Fibromyalgia - It causes muscle pain throughout the body, specifically in the shoulder and neck regions.
  • Spinal Stenosis - It is a condition where the spinal column narrows and exerts pressure on the nerve roots or spinal cord to cause neck pain.
  • Weak Abdominal Muscles and Being Overweight - Weak abdominal muscles and being overweight can affect the spinal balance, causing neck pain.

In rare cases, neck pain might also occur due to the following:

  • Infections
  • Abscesses
  • Spine cancer
  • Tumours
  • Congenital abnormalities

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the different types of neck pain?

The most common types of neck pain include muscle pain, facet joint pain, muscle spasm, referred pain, nerve pain, headache and bone pain.

2. When is neck pain considered severe?

Neck pain becomes severe when accompanied by symptoms like headache, fever and irritability. The pain does not heal even after trying gentle stretching exercises, NSAIDs and home treatments.

3. What cancers can cause neck pain?

Thyroid, salivary gland, and mouth cancer can cause neck pain.

4. How long does neck pain last?

Mild to moderate neck pain usually heals within one or two weeks. However, in some people, it may reoccur after intensive sports and workouts. Chronic neck pain can last for more than three months.

5. Can neck issues lead to brain fog?

The information system from the brain to the body cannot do its job when there’s some problem with the neck. It can result in headaches, poor circulation, sleep apnea, brain fog and jaw tension.

If you have severe neck pain and need medical advice,

Consult An Apollo Bone Specialist


Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.

Orthopedic Conditions

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