Neck pain may go together with stiffness and decreased ability to move the neck well. Neck pain is, after back and shoulder pain, the most common disease of the musculoskeletal system. Approximately two out of three people have a history of neck pain during life. Usually, there is no obvious cause and the pain is gone within a few weeks.


How neck pain arises is not always clear. It is possibly the result of stress, overload, a wrong move or a wrong posture. Even after a fall or punch, for example in sports, the neck can hurt. Whether draught and cold play a role is uncertain. Possible causes are:

Rare causes of neck pain are: neck hernia, meningitis, arthritis, vertebral fractures or cancer metastases.


People with neck pain have pain in their lower neck. The pain may be felt in the back of the head to low in the neck just at the transition to the thoracic spine. The pain may radiate to the shoulders and/or arms, but also to the head. Sometimes, they are the static postures that hurt, but also moving, such as looking back, can be very painful. In addition to neck pain, there can also be other symptoms, such as tingling in the arms. The pain is dull or aching. Neck pain can be very bothersome. It is sometimes difficult to do everyday things normally.
Neck pain can be divided into acute neck pain (usually passes on its own in four to six weeks), chronic neck pain (lasts more than twelve weeks) and recurrent neck pain (when more than two episodes of neck pain occur in the same year).


The diagnosis of neck pain can often be made based on the story of the patient and physical examination. In order to identify the cause, additional examination is sometimes required, for example X-rays, CT scan or MRI scan.


The treatment of neck pain depends on the cause. Short-term painkillers are often prescribed. Physical therapists and remedial therapists can relieve cramps and pain by exercises, relaxation techniques and learning a good posture.


In most cases of acute (sudden) neckpain, the prognosis is good. The symptoms often improve after a few days and usually disappear within a few weeks. However, the time frame in which improvement occurs, is different for each person. Some people develop chronic or recurrent neck pain. Here, the pain tends to come and go, with an attack from time to time.