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Common Causes for Neck Pain

Common Causes for Neck Pain

Understanding Sources of Neck Pain

Many of us are familiar with the aches and pains associated with having a stiff neck. But you may find yourself wondering what brought this on in the first place?

The health experts at Methodist Sports Medicine are here to break down some of the usual suspects when it comes to aches and pains affecting your neck and upper back.


Your neck is an extension of your spinal column, making up the segment referred to as the cervical spine. The cervical spine is made of 7 vertebrae that are separated by intervertebral disks, which are meant to absorb shock and prevent injury. There are also a multitude of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that help to support your neck.

However, it is common for accidents and repetitive activities to result in injuries to the neck, causing discomfort and pain. Some of the most common injuries that affect the neck include:

  • Neck sprain
  • Neck fracture that is affecting the cervical vertebrae
  • Whiplash

These issues commonly affect athletes due to direct impact, overuse, and improper posture during activity.

A Herniated Disk in the Neck

A herniated disk, commonly referred to as a pinched nerve, isn’t always the actual source of your pain. Typically, it's what comes out of the tear (within your affected disk), which causes irritation and inflammation in the nerves surrounding the injury site; this is called radicular pain.

More often than not, disk herniation to the cervical spine is caused by degeneration over time or direct trauma to the spine, causing the disk to tear and become unstable.

Cervical Spine Stenosis

Stenosis happens when the bony opening in the spine begins to narrow, leaving less space for your nerves. Whether this happens within the vertebral column or within the intervertebral foramina, it can form pain-causing compression to your spinal nerves, resulting in discomfort.

Cervical spine stenosis is typically characterized by the following sensations affecting the neck:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness

Sports Medicine in Dallas and Fort Worth

If you have sustained a sports injury, or you want to improve your overall athletic ability, Methodist Sports Medicine can help. See our full list of services or contact us for an appointment today.