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A Pain in the Neck: The Most Common Causes of Sudden Neck Pain

Man rubbing his neck in pain

Neck pain is one of the most common pain-related issues experienced in the United States. It is responsible for as much as 635 billion dollars worth of healthcare spending annually.

If you’re experiencing sudden neck pain, your issue can range from being a minor nuisance to debilitating, life-altering disability.

Neck pain is a literal and figurative pain in the neck.

Fortunately, there are solutions to neck pain, many of which a quality neck and spine specialist can help facilitate. Before you seek treatment though, you may be curious to know what’s causing your neck pain.

Below are some common sudden neck pain sources.

1. Bad Sleeping Positions

If you’re leaning into an uncomfortable neck position for 8 hours every night, you’re going to wake up with bad neck pain. After years of sleeping incorrectly, the damage caused can even lead to chronic conditions.

To rule out this factor, try altering the way you sleep. You can also adjust the firmness of your mattress or get special neck pillows to support your spine in bed.

2. Stress

It’s hard for some people to comprehend the connection psychological issues like stress have on physical conditions like neck pain. The truth is that stress’ effect on the physical body is well-documented.

If you’re finding spikes in your neck pain during anxious or stressful periods in your life, that tension could be the culprit of your pain.

3. Whiplash

Many people who are involved in car accidents report sudden neck pain within 1 to 2 days after the occurrence. That pain is usually caused by a fast whipping motion that took place at the time of impact.

Whiplash and neck jolts aren’t only a by-product of car accidents of course. Falling, bumping into by another person or turning your neck too quickly can also cause similar damage.

4. Poor Posture

As it turns out, poor posture can mean a lot more than just not looking your best.

Having a slouched posture can lead to micro-tears or sprains in muscle tissues around your neck which can cause discomfort that even doctors have a difficult time diagnosing.

It’s important to be assessed by a qualified neck and spine specialist who knows how to identify and rule out hard to find problems.

5. Brachial Plexus Injuries

Brachial Plexus Injuries are defined as damage occurring in the area where nerves around your neck link your spinal-chord to your hands. People with injuries of this nature, often experience pain or odd sensations in their hands.

Brachial Plexus is most typically suffered through impacts during full contact sports or during moderate to severe car accidents.

6. Wear and Tear

Wear and tear can progressively strain muscles, ligaments, and tendons which can then lead to sudden neck pain that is very hard to mitigate. If you perform activities that require repetitive neck motions like whipping your head side to side while dancing or turning your head to the left while swimming, you are at a higher risk of this factor.

If you suspect wear and tear as the being the culprit of your neck pain, our recommendation is to cease performing the repetitive motion at your pain’s root and go speak to a specialist immediately.

7. Holding Your Head in Unusual Positions

Are you on your office phone frequently and consequently, find yourself cradling your phone between your shoulder and head while typing? If so, we recommend you get your employer to invest in getting you a headset.

Holding your neck in unconventional positions for long periods of time can cause strains and sprains which give way to sudden neck pain.

Always remain contingent of the positions you’re forcing your neck into and do your best to maintain a good posture whilst performing work.

8. Rare Miscellaneous Causes

Most sudden neck pain will fall into one of the cause categories we’ve mentioned above or a closely related one. In very rare instances, however, neck pain can be a sign of more serious illnesses and injuries.

Some examples of those more serious neck pain causes include:

As always, to rule out the possibility of severe issues, we recommend seeking medical assistance for the neck pain you’re experiencing as soon as possible. The sooner you get the treatment you need, the better chance you’ll have of improving your neck’s condition.

Wrapping Up Common Causes of Sudden Neck Pain

Neck pain can damage one’s ability to partake in day to day activities and consequently, can steeply reduce the quality of their lives. To manage and treat your pain, the first step is deducing its cause.

We recommend going through our list above to see if any of the common causes of sudden neck pain sound like a possibility for what you’re experiencing. Then, make your way to a neck and spine specialist to test your suspicion and come to a solid diagnosis of your problem.

If you’re looking for an experienced team of neck professionals to help you through your pain, our group at Comprehensive Spine Institute can help.

We’ve been providing patients in the Clearwater, Florida area and beyond world-class treatment and consistent relief of sudden and chronic pain.

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