Why is My Neck Stiff & in Pain? | Dr Chen Tai Ho | Malaysia

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Why Does My Neck Hurt?

by | May 17, 2015

Hi everyone, I hope the weekend continues to treat you well and that you are getting rested up for the challenges ahead this week. For today’s topic, I want to explore something that is fairly common for most working adults – neck pain. This is something many people have experienced, but are often unable to pinpoint why it happens.
Potential Causes or Symptoms?

You should know when your neck is sore or aching; during this time, it may be difficult to move your neck, especially when trying to turn your head sideways. Neck pains might last for two days to a week, and the pain might range from slight to excruciating. Most cases will heal on its own and there are very few instances where it is a sign of a serious medical issue.

Neck pain is very common among working adults (pic from kxyorkville.com)
Some common causes of neck pain include poor posture when sitting, muscle strain or trauma. More serious causes might include degenerative diseases, abnormalities in your bones or joins, or even tumours. However, let me focus on the more common causes that cause neck stiffness or pain, as more people will experience these at some point.
The muscle strain or sprain is the most common cause of stiff or aching necks. Everyday activities that may contribute to this include:
  • Sporting injuries that may strain the muscles around the neck
  • Poor posture resulting in slouching when sitting, especially at work or at home in front of a screen
  • Poor sleeping posture which may result in strained neck muscles
  • Activities that require constant turning of the head from side to side, e.g. swimming free style
  • Keeping your neck in an abnormal position for long periods of time


Everyday activities can cause strain to your neck if not careful (pic from jiujitsutimes.com)


Naturally, remedies to some of these problems are simple – all you have to do is to maintain a better posture when sitting down or sleeping. Sitting up straight might be difficult to consciously maintain at the start, but the more you do it, the more it becomes a natural seating position which bodes well for your neck muscles. Similarly, when sleeping, ensure that your back is flat on the mattress and that you do not sleep on your side as this increases the chances of straining your neck overnight.
More serious problem could include meningitis, which is a possibility if you have a high fever, feel nauseous, constant headaches, sleepiness or other similar symptoms. This is a bacterial infection that inflames the protective membrane of the brain and spinal cord, and can be serious if not treated. If you are suffering from a stiff neck and a fever simultaneously, it is recommended that you seek medical attention.
Seek medical attention immediately if you have a stiff neck and fever (pic from healthtap.com)
In addition, it is wise to seek medical attention if your stiff neck or neck pain does not go away after one week. The diagnosis can be very helpful and prevent the issue from becoming worse over time. However, if you are suffering from a stiff neck after a traumatic injury, for example, when playing sports, you should seek immediate medical attention to ensure that there is nothing serious affecting you.


Till next time, stay healthy!


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