What are the most common causes of radiating neck pain?

Radiating neck pain has many possible causes, including whiplash or other injuries, nerve problems, spinal disc problems, and muscle problems. Also, medical conditions like fibromyalgia and arthritis are common causes of neck pain. Infections, such as meningitis, can also cause this problem.

Injuries are a common cause of neck pain. For example, a car accident can cause whiplash, which typically results in burning of the neck as the spinal accessory nerve is compressed under the trapezius muscle. Accidents can also cause a condition called spinal stenosis, in which physical damage causes pain in the neck that radiates down and to the right side of the body.

Strain on soft tissues, such as muscles, ligaments, or tendons, can also cause radiating neck pain. If these tissues become irritated, burning, pain, or swelling may occur. These types of conditions are usually easily remedied with anti-inflammatory medications or topical remedies, such as ice packs. Soft tissue damage can be caused by injury, illness, or repetitive behaviors, such as carrying a heavy purse or bag.

Bulging or slipped discs are also common causes of neck pain that radiates down the arms or down the spine. A medical professional may perform an MRI or X-ray to determine if any of these issues are to blame.

There are several autoimmune medical conditions that can include radiating neck pain as a symptom. For example, fibromyalgia causes multiple tender points in the soft tissues and often causes chronic neck pain. This condition also causes interruptions in rest, as the pain often worsens while the patient is trying to sleep.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the joints. Common targets of the disease are the joints of the hands, feet, and neck. RA also causes inflammation, which causes pain to radiate from damaged joints. The symptoms of the disease can appear, disappear and vary in intensity.

Meningitis is an infectious disease that causes the membranes around the brain and spinal cord to become inflamed. The disease causes pain and swelling throughout the neck and spine, and can lead to serious complications, including brain damage, permanent disability, or death.

Various types of neck pain require medical evaluation to determine the appropriate treatment options. Ignoring ongoing neck pain is never a good idea, as the underlying cause of the symptom can worsen over time and become more difficult to treat. Simple tests and an evaluation by a medical professional can provide the patient with treatment options.

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