Neck pain and what to do about it


Many people experience neck pain at some point in time. Neck pain can be acute or insidious in onset. The duration can last from a day to many years (chronic). Most neck pain is musculoskeletal (muscular and bony) in etiology. This type of pain often results from repetitive improper positioning of the head and neck, e.g. hours spent studying or working on a computer or from a single prolonged episode of poor neck position, e.g. falling asleep on a couch watching a movie with your neck flexed forward. This pain is becoming increasingly more common with the increase in laptop, desktop time, or more commonly, smartphone time.  Neck pain of this type is localized to the neck and usually resolves in 1 to 2 days without treatment and can improve with work station modification. By ensuring proper desk and computer position, the arms, head, and neck are in a more neutral and relaxed position. Regular rest breaks and daily stretches are helpful.  Proper sleep hygiene with attention to neck position is also very effective. If necessary, OTC pain meds and /or heat can be  helpful on this type of pain. Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT: which I perform in the office) can be extremely helpful with this type of pain (

In the presence of osteoporosis, x-rays should be obtained to rule out cervical compression fracture. If the neck pain (acute or chronic) is associated with numbness, tingling, or weakness of the upper limb, this may indicate the presence of cervical (neck) nerve involvement. If present, you should see your physician as this may indicate radiculopathy which can be caused by a protruding or herniated disc or osteophyte (bone spur) compressing one or more cervical nerves. If the pain follows trauma (e.g. motor vehicle accident, sports injury) but does not resolve in a day or two, you should see your physician. If the neck pain follows a high energy impact, such as a tackle, a body check, or any contact maneuver resulting in excessive flexion/extension of the neck it should be worked up promptly with imaging to rule out cervical fracture and / or spinal cord injury.

Contact my office for an appointment to discuss your neck pain.