Neck and Back Pain: Causes, Treatment, Prevention and Potential Complications

This discomfort varies, but they all come down to how we hold ourselves while standing, moving, and, most importantly, sitting down.

Pain in the upper back and neck can stop it in its tracks, making it challenging to complete your typical day.

Upper neck and back pain can limit your movements and abilities. If you do not do anything about your pains, they can worsen, spread, and restrict you.

This is usually because the muscles around your immediate area of ​​pain tensed to protect that single point.

That expansion limits movement and can turn a tight muscle under your shoulder blade into a painful shoulder and a tension headache.


The causes of pain in the upper back and neck include:

  • Lift something heavy incorrectly.
  • Maintain a bad posture
  • Sports injury
  • Being overweight.

Sitting all day working on a computer screen, stretching your neck to read the news on your phone on the way home, and collapsing on the couch to watch several hours of television are excellent ways to alter your body negatively.


Like many health conditions, neck and back pain can be more severe in people who smoke or are overweight. Excess weight can add more pressure on the muscles.

Treatment and prevention

Chronic pain in the upper back and neck can become a severe problem. However, some general pests in the back and neck area are pretty standard.

You can take some steps for quick relief when this discomfort arises and some things you can do to avoid it altogether.

Use a pack of cold compresses and anti-inflammatory pain relief for the first three days after the pain begins. After that, alternate the application of heat and cold to your injury.

Pain in the upper back and neck usually appears suddenly, but healing can take longer. If you still feel pain and your movement is limited after one month, it is time to see your doctor.

Apply a cold compress

If you can, apply a cold pack. This could mean a handful of ice in a plastic bag wrapped in a towel, or something hard, like a can of soda straight from the fridge.

Try an over-the-counter pain reliever.

If your stomach tolerates nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen, take them according to the package instructions as soon as possible.

Walk upright

Walking with a healthy posture could also help. An excellent way to visualize a healthy posture is to imagine that you are suspended by a line connecting your chest’s center with the ceiling or the sky.


Once you have calmed down the immediate pain and your injury has rested for about a day, you can start trying to loosen it and help it heal during stretching.

These stretches will also help you prevent new pains or prevent the reappearance of a previous injury.


Sitting on a firm chair or an exercise ball with your feet flat on the floor, let your hands hang directly from your relaxed shoulders.

With your palms facing each other, slowly raise your hands towards your knees and then over your head. Keep your elbows straight but not locked, and do not lift your shoulders.

Hold the posture for three deep breaths, and slowly lower your arms sideways. Repeat ten times


Stand against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Start with the arms hanging at the sides and the shoulders relaxed. Extend the arms and then pull the elbows towards the wall next to the rib cage.

Then try to bring the backs of your hands and wrists to the wall, on the sides of your shoulders. You are making the shape of a W, with your torso as the centerline. Hold for 30 seconds. Do three rounds, at least once and up to three times per day.


This simple exercise is probably the most difficult to perform at the beginning of your injury. Do not demand too much; it should be more accessible over time.

Sitting on a firm chair or an exercise ball with your feet flat on the floor, let your arms hang directly from your relaxed shoulders.

Keeping the arm by your side, take the chair’s seat with the right hand and tilt the left ear towards the left shoulder.

Extend as far as you can comfortably, and hold a deep breath. Repeat 10 times, then save with your left hand and stretch to the correct ten times.

Potential complications

Back pain and sleep

Your back and muscle pain can also interfere with your sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, your muscles relax in your deepest stages of sleep.

This is also the time when your body releases the human growth hormone. When you lose sleep due to back or neck pain, you lose this opportunity to heal.

When to see a doctor

Suppose you hurt your neck or back with a blow, like when you play football or in a car accident, see a doctor immediately. You could face a concussion or internal injuries.

Experiencing any numbness is also a sign that you should check with your health care provider.


When to worry about neck pain and when not!

We fear the pain of the spine more than we fear other types of pain. The backs and necks seem vulnerable. However, most spinal ache does not have a severe cause.

Alerts for severe causes of neck pain

This is often the case with chronic pain; it finally disappears when we think that we can not take it anymore. General warning signs for neck pain:

  • It has been bothering you for more than six weeks.
  • It is severe and does not improve or get worse.
  • There is at least another “alert.”

More specific alerts for severe neck pain

Mysterious fevers and chills (especially in diabetic patients). A fierce headache, inability to tilt the head forward (nuchal rigidity), rage, and altered mental status are all symptoms of meningitis (inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord caused by infection or side effects of medications).

A sudden sharp headache is called the color “thunder headache.” Most are harmless, but they should always be investigated.

Intense new pain (throbbing or constrictive) can be caused by a ruptured artery with a high risk of stroke. Pain is the only symptom of some tears!

Most cases, although not all, are sudden, on the one hand, and cause so much pain in the neck as in the head (in the temple or the back of the skull), but the pain is usually strange.

There are many possible signs of spinal cord problems in the neck, with or without pain in the neck, which mainly affect the extremities in surprisingly mysterious ways that may have other causes:

  • Inadequate coordination of the hands.
  • Weakness and atrophy
  • Diffuse numbness
  • Sharp pains in the extremities (significantly when tilting the head forward).
  • An uncomfortable way of walking.

Sometimes, people have neck pain and more remote symptoms without realizing they are related. Unexplained episodes of dizziness, nausea, and vomiting may indicate a problem with the stability of the upper cervical spine.

Such symptoms should never be ruled out by alternative health professionals such as “detoxification” or “healing crisis.” The use of steroids, other drug abuse, and HIV are all risk factors for a severe cause of neck pain.

If you feel bad enough in another way, that could indicate that neck pain is not the only thing.

The main signs that neck pain can be caused by autoimmune disease specifically include:

  • Family history of autoimmune disease.
  • Gradual but progressive increase in symptoms before age 40.
  • Marked morning stiffness.
  • Pain in other joints and lumbago.
  • Rashes.
  • Difficult digestion
  • Irritated eyes.
  • Secretion of the urethra.

Signs of arthritis are not warning signs.

One of the most common concerns about the neck is not particularly worrisome: signs of “wear” on the cervical spine, arthritis, and degenerative disc disease, as revealed by x-rays, CT scans, and MRI.

Many people who have clear signs of arthritic degeneration in their spines will never have any symptoms or only minor, and not for a long time.

For example, about 50% of 64-year-old children have clinically silent disc bulges, and even at the age of 20, there is a surprising amount of spinal arthritis. The severity of these signs is often overestimated by patients and health professionals alike.

The signs of arthritis are rarely diagnostic on their own. Do yourself a favor: do not assume that you have a severe problem based solely on pain plus symptoms of arthritis. Pain is joint; severe degeneration is not.

Medical causes of neck and back pain

Lymphadenopathy: The lymph nodes in the neck may swell in response to disease or infection.

Someone might confuse these lumps with muscle knots. It is more likely to be evident that something else is happening: various other symptoms.

Parsonage-Turner syndrome: inflammation of the brachial plexus. For no known reason, sometimes the network of nerves that leaves the cervical spine, the brachial plexus, swells rapidly.

This condition can sometimes occur along with pain in the neck. The severe pain in the shoulder and arm develops rapidly, weakens the limb, and even atrophies the muscles for several months. There is no cure, but most people recover completely.

Thyroiditis: Inflammation of the thyroid gland in the throat can be difficult to diagnose, causing a bewildering variety of vague symptoms.

Consider consulting your doctor if your neck pain is accompanied by fatigue, weight gain, “tousled head” feeling, depression, and constipation.

Eagle’s syndrome: is a rare abnormal elongation of a strange piece of bone in the back of the throat called the styloid process.

Even a normal styloid process seems unpleasant when one sees it for the first time: it is so thin and sharp that it makes one wonder how it is possible that he does not stab something. Well, it turns out that he “stabs” you in the neck in some cases.

This will cause a feeling of a lump in the throat and moderate-intensity pain throughout the region, possibly including the side of the neck, although pain is more likely to dominate the jaw and throat.

Collars hurt sometimes

The neck is one of the few areas of the body, the lower back, jaw, and intestines, which are vulnerable to unexplained pain episodes.

In most cases, the pain disappears. The pain is strange and unpredictable and is often the result of the brain being overprotective and paranoid.