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Neck Problems and Injuries

Conditions that may cause neck problems

Neck problems may not be related to an injury.

* Arthritis or damage to the discs of the neck can cause a pinched nerve. Neck pain caused by a pinched nerve generally affects one side of the neck and the arm on that side. Other symptoms may develop, such as numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arm or hand.

* Meningitis is a serious viral or bacterial illness that causes inflammation around the tissues of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms come on quickly and include severe headache, stiff neck, fever, and sometimes vomiting. The neck stiffness makes it hard or impossible to touch the chin to the chest.

* The flu, which usually is not serious, can cause symptoms similar to meningitis. When neck pain is caused by flu, the neck and the rest of the body tend to ache all over, but severe neck stiffness is absent.

* Neck pain that occurs with chest pain may be caused by a serious problem with the heart, such as a heart attack.

* Stress and tension may make the muscles that run from the back of the head across the back of the shoulder (trapezius muscle) feel tight and painful. You may not be able to move your head without pain.

* Torticollis is caused by severe muscle contraction on one side of the neck, causing the head to be tilted to one side. The chin is usually rotated toward the opposite side of the neck. Torticollis may be present at birth (congenital) or caused by injury or disease.

Treatment

Treatment for a neck problem or injury may include first aid measures, physical therapy, manipulative therapy (such as chiropractic or osteopathic), medicine, and in some cases surgery. Treatment depends on:

* The location, type, and severity of the injury.

* Your age, health condition, and activities (such as work, sports, or hobbies).

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