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Acute Neck Pain

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What do I need to know about acute neck pain?

Acute neck pain starts suddenly, increases quickly, and goes away in a few days. The pain may come and go, or be worse with certain movements. The pain may be only in your neck, or it may move to your arms, back, or shoulders. You may also have pain that starts in another body area and moves to your neck.

Vertebral Column

What causes or increases my risk for acute neck pain?

Acute neck pain is often caused by a muscle strain or ligament sprain. Any of the following can increase your risk for acute neck pain:

How is the cause of acute neck pain diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and when they began. Tell him or her if you were recently in an accident or had another injury to your neck. He or she will examine your neck and shoulders. He or she may also have you move your head in certain ways to see if any position causes or relieves the pain.

How is acute neck pain treated?

Treatment will depend on what is causing your pain.

What can I do to manage or prevent acute neck pain?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.