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Neck pain can be caused by activities that involve repeated or prolonged movements of the neck. This can result in a strain (an overstretched or overused muscle), a sprain (injury to a ligament), or a spasm of the neck muscles.
These activities include:
Holding your head in a forward or odd position for long periods of time while you work, read, watch TV, or talk on the phone.
Sleeping on a pillow that is too high or too flat or that doesn't support your neck, or sleeping on your stomach with your neck twisted or bent.
Spending long periods of time resting your head on your upright fist or arm.
Work or exercise that uses the upper body and arms, such as painting a ceiling or other overhead work.
Injuries that cause neck pain
Minor injuries may occur from tripping or falling a short distance or from too much motion of the cervical spine.
Severe neck injuries may occur from:
Whiplash in a car accident.
Falls from great heights.
Direct blows to the face or to the back or top of the head.
Medical conditions that cause neck pain
Certain medical problems can cause neck pain. These include:
Problems related to aging, such as:
Narrowing of the spinal canal (cervical spinal stenosis).
The Stanford Medicine Online Second Opinion program offers you easy access to our world-class doctors. It’s all done remotely and you don’t have to visit our hospital or one of our clinics for this service. You don’t even need to leave home!