For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

Neck pain

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How is the neck structured?

Your neck and back are made up of a column of bones (vertebrae) stacked one on top of the other. This is called the spinal column. The top seven vertebrae are called the cervical vertebrae, and these form your neck. Read more >

What are the symptoms of neck problems?

Symptoms of neck problems can include:
  • pain and stiffness
  • numbness or tingling
  • clicking or grating noises (crepitus)
  • dizziness or blackouts
  • muscle spasms
Read more >

What causes neck pain?

Neck pain is often caused by a simple muscle strain or tension, although it can be affected by particular conditions. Read more >

Should I see a doctor about my neck pain?

You should see your doctor if:
  • your pain doesn’t improve within a few days
  • you have pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in your arms
  • you suddenly develop stiffness in your neck along with stiffness in both your shoulders
Read more >

How can I help myself when I have neck pain?

Try some of the following tips to help ease your symptoms:
  • take painkillers
  • gently massage your neck muscles
  • exercise
  • try relaxation techniques
  • make sure you have good posture
  • get a good night’s sleep
Read more >

Why does neck pain become persistent?

Persistent neck pain may have a specific cause, but it can continue even after the original problem has settled down. It’s really important to continue with your daily activities and exercise to reduce the impact it has on your everyday life. Read more >

How are neck problems diagnosed?

Your doctor will usually examine your neck and may sometimes request x-rays or blood tests. More rarely, your doctor may suggest you have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Read more >

Specific neck conditions

Neck pain can be caused by:
  • cervical spondylosis
  • whiplash
  • tension
  • slipped discs.
Read more >

What treatments are there for neck problems?

Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
  • physical therapies (e.g. physiotherapy, chiropractic)
  • injections
  • collars
  • surgery (very rarely needed).

Some problems may be treated with drugs such as amitriptyline, gabapentin or pregabalin.

Read more >

What other help is available for neck pain?

Your doctor may be able to refer you to a pain management programme if they think it’d be useful. Read more >

Research and new developments for neck pain

Research has helped us to understand the causes behind neck pain. Read more >

Exercises to manage neck pain

Exercises designed to strengthen and stabilise the structures that support the neck. Read more >

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