What is neck pain?

Neck pain of any kind is uncomfortable and it can make everyday activities awkward, but thankfully most neck pain will usually go away by itself and is rarely a sign of a more serious condition.

Causes of neck pain

Neck pain is commonly caused by either bad posture, anxiety (which causes tension in the muscles), sitting in the same position for a long time (for example while driving or using a computer) or sleeping in an awkward position. In some cases, injury, trauma (e.g. whiplash) and advancing osteoarthritis can cause neck pain.

Preventing neck pain

Avoid sleeping on your front, using too many pillows and soft mattresses. Also make sure you take regular breaks from your desk or from driving, correct bad posture and attempt relaxation techniques to calm tense muscles.

How to manage neck pain

Unless you’re worried your neck pain is abnormal, it’s advisable to continue everyday activities and medicate with regular painkillers where necessary. Keep your neck mobile to relieve the tension.

When to seek medical advice

If ibuprofen and paracetamol cannot alleviate your pain, your neck pain continues for days or weeks, or you suspect there could be a more critical underlying reason for your pain, seek your GP’s advice.

Your GP will examine you and determine whether there could be a latent health condition causing your neck pain. Following that, they may prescribe stronger painkillers to help you cope with the pain. If your neck pain still persists consider physiotherapy for specialist neck exercises and posture management. For ongoing neck pain, pain specialists will be able to do a more thorough examination and request investigations if required. They will also be able to discuss and offer specific, stronger medications and interventions.