Should I see a doctor about my neck pain?
Most neck pain is caused by a simple muscular strain and clears up within a few days. You can often treat these spells of neck pain yourself with over-the-counter painkillers and by finding the right balance between rest and gentle exercise to ease stiffness.
If your pain lasts more than a few days, then you should see your doctor or a physiotherapist in case you have a more complex problem. You should also speak to them if you:
- have symptoms other than pain and stiffness
- have pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in your arms
- have sudden severe pain after a fall or injury
- suddenly develop neck stiffness along with stiffness in both shoulders.
Some rare causes of neck pain are bone problems such as fracture – often linked to thinning of the bones (osteoporosis) – or infection, a tumour, inflammation such as in ankylosing spondylitis, or meningitis. If you suspect you may have any of these it's best to see your doctor.