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The Most Common Causes of Neck Pain

Are you bothered by neck pain and stiffness? Is your range of motion limited? You’re not alone. An estimated 80% of American adults suffer neck pain in their lifetimes. And in up to 50% of those cases, the pain is recurring. Whether you woke up with a painful, stiff neck or an injury has left you with lingering pain and weakness, you don’t have to settle for the discomfort.

Our team at Manhattan Orthopedics can diagnose and treat your neck pain. Our orthopedic specialists in Astoria, Brooklyn, and Manhattan offer personalized neck pain treatment so you can start feeling better.

What’s causing your neck pain?

Your neck is made up of seven cervical vertebrae and eight cervical nerves. Damage to the spine or the muscles around it can make your neck hurt. There are a variety of things that contribute to neck pain, and we outline a few of them here.


Around 32 million American adults have osteoarthritis. It’s the most common type of arthritis, and it develops as your joints wear down over the years. The cartilage that cushions the bones in your joints breaks down over time, and joint pain and stiffness are the result.

Osteoarthritis is common in the hips and knees, but it can appear in the joints of your neck too. If you have arthritis in your neck, it’s called cervical spondylosis.

Herniated disc

Each vertebrae in your spine is cushioned with a vertebral disc. These discs have tough outer shells and soft, gel-like interiors. But injury or overuse can create a weak spot in the disc.

If you have a herniated disc, the gel inside a vertebral disc pushes outside the shell. It can press on nerves in your spine. Herniated cervical discs can cause neck pain, along with tingling or numbness in your shoulders or arms.

Muscle strain

Your cervical spine is surrounded by muscles. These muscles offer additional support and give you the ability to move your head, but they can hold tension or suffer strain. You might suffer muscle strain if you’re involved in an accident, or even if you have poor posture or you sleep in an awkward position.

Pinched nerve

Cervical radiculopathy is the medical term for a pinched nerve in your neck. Pinched nerves happen when inflammation, irritation, or a herniated disc press on a nerve and cause symptoms like sharp pain and tingling in the neck.

Spinal stenosis

Your spine has a hollow canal that contains nerves. Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when this canal gets narrow, and it can put pressure on the nerves inside. Spinal stenosis can develop in your lower back or your neck, causing symptoms like pain, tingling, and muscle weakness.


Whiplash is a common neck injury. It happens when your head is forced in a sudden back-and-forth motion, such as in a rear-end car accident or a slip-and-fall accident. Whiplash symptoms may not be noticeable immediately after the incident, but can develop into pain, stiffness, and even headaches.

Finding relief from neck pain

Our specialists can identify the cause of your pain and find a treatment plan that works for you. We start with a thorough physical evaluation, complete with X-rays or an MRI if necessary.

Many types of neck pain can be treated with conservative care. We often recommend physical therapy, pain-relieving medication, or anti-inflammatory medication to encourage healing. If pain and other symptoms continue after you’ve tried these nonsurgical options, surgery could be a good long-term solution for you.

If you’re living with neck pain, it’s time to get help. Book an appointment with us at Manhattan Orthopedics online or on the phone today.

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