Question:

What are the symptoms of neck pain to be aware of?

Sifting Through the Symptoms: What Neck Pain Feels Like

Pain in the cervical spine can be acute, coming on suddenly, or chronic, wearing you down day after day. Like any other pain, it can be draining both physically and emotionally. While most neck pain can be managed with home care and a self-help approach, you should be cognizant of symptoms that persist despite your every attempt to get relief from neck pain. If the pain is so bad that you can't touch your chin to your chest after several days, for example, or if the symptoms don't lessen in about a week, seek medical attention. In general, neck pain symptoms can be described as:

  • Either sharp or dull, localized in the neck itself
  • A stiff feeling, making it difficult to move the neck through a normal range of motion (for example, looking over your shoulder to make a lane change while driving becomes problematic)
  • Significant enough to interfere with normal daily activities (drying your hair, finding a comfortable sleeping position, and talking on the phone may all become difficult)
  • Extending into your shoulders and back (when your neck is stiff and sore enough, movement becomes compromised throughout your spine and these other areas begin to ache as well)

Paying attention to the nature and quality of your symptoms is very helpful in helping your doctor sift through the facts and determine the cause of your pain. Like with any other pain-related condition, taking a proactive approach will help you avoid the onset of a chronic situation.

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