About Neck Pain
The neck—or cervical spine—is a coordinated network of nerves, bones, joints, and muscles. It has the important job of providing support and mobility for the head, but sometimes it can become painful.
There are a number of problems that cause pain in the neck. Irritation along nerve pathways in the neck can cause pain in the shoulder, head, arm, and/or hand. Additionally, irritation of the spinal cord can cause pain into the legs and other areas below the neck.
Neck pain usually goes away within a few days or weeks, but pain that persists for months could signal an underlying medical cause that needs to be addressed. In some cases, early intervention may be necessary for the best results.
Neck Pain Range of Symptoms
Neck pain can range from being minor and easily ignored to excruciating and interfering with daily activities, such as the ability to dress, concentrate, or sleep. Sometimes neck pain can lead to a stiff neck and reduced range of motion.
The duration of neck pain is commonly classified as follows:
Acute. Pain that lasts less than 4 weeks.
Subacute. Pain that lasts 4 to 12 weeks.
Chronic. Pain that lasts 3 or more months.
Neck pain may be sharp and located in one spot, or it might feel less intense but spread across a broader region.