3 Possible Causes of Your Stiff Neck

Do you often wake up with a stiff neck? The discomfort from a stiff neck can limit your physical activity and be rather annoying. However, it can also signal a more serious issue that needs to be treated medically.
Symptoms of a stiff neck include soreness and difficulty moving the neck; these symptoms may last just a few days or a couple of weeks. Besides soreness in the neck, you may also experience a headache, shoulder pain, or arm pain.
If your stiff neck is especially painful, or lasts longer than usual, you may want to consult a spine specialist to be sure your condition is not serious. Here are some of the common causes of a stiff neck:
1. Muscle strain
If you engage in activities that put your neck in an awkward position for an extended amount of time, your neck muscles may become fatigued and spasm. Activities that can strain your neck include carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder, not having your computer screen at an optimal level, and holding your phone against your shoulder.
2. Infection
Infection is a rare cause of a stiff neck, but it is very serious. Infections, such as meningococcal disease, cause fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, as well as neck pain. If you experience these symptoms, call your physician immediately.
3. Cervical spine disorders
The cervical spine consists of the spinal cord, vertebrae, and discs, and includes the upper part of the spine (your neck). Cervical spine disorders can cause pain and stiffness in the neck and include:
  • Facet joint disorders: When the facet joints, which are located in the back of the spinal segments, wear out or degenerate, you may experience a stiff neck.
  • Disc problems: A herniated disc may irritate nerve roots and cause pain and stiffness in the neck and arms.
Neck stiffness and pain can cause discomfort ranging from a daily annoyance to a serious medical condition. If you are concerned about your stiff neck, please reach out to Dr. Sharma today.