Chances are, you've experienced a stiff or sore neck at one time or another. Given the complex mechanics and functions of the neck, it's no wonder that neck pain is so common. This slender stem supports and balances a 10-pound head permitting it to bend up and down and to swivel almost 180 degrees. Through it passes blood vessels, nerves, the esophagus, the trachea, many muscles, ligaments and the cervical spine. All communications from the brain to other parts of the body must pass through the neck.
Many everyday habits or activities can contribute to neck pain. Sleeping in an awkward position, slumping over a desk, overwork, squeezing a telephone between the ear and shoulder, or straining to see over a steering wheel all may cause muscle fatigue or strains. Anger, fear or mental stress can cause neck muscles to tighten which, if prolonged, can lead to painful muscle spasms. Tension headaches also frequently follow bouts with neck pain.
Learning what causes your neck pain and avoiding it can help prevent this discomfort. Major pain or recurring problems, however, are a signal that something more serious may be wrong. It's a sign that you may need professional care.