What causes cough and stiff neck?

A stiff neck, or trouble moving the neck due to pain or discomfort, can be the result of extreme tension within the neck muscles. This problem can also be the byproduct of a problem in another area of ​​the body, such as the shoulders, arms, or head, in the form of a headache that travels to the neck area. Symptoms including cough and stiff neck, on the other hand, may be the body's way of warning that there is a serious problem in the body that threatens the overall well-being of the body.

Neck pain and stiffness can be triggered by an injury, such as a muscle sprain or strain, that produces tiny tears in muscle fibers, tendons, or ligaments. In turn, this causes inflammation, which causes swelling in the area. Once the muscles are injured, as a protective mechanism, the body can react by causing a continuous firing of muscle fibers, called muscle spasm. Spasms, or the persistent involuntary contraction of a muscle, can "lock" muscles, producing pain and unwillingness or inability to move the neck through its normal range of motion, thus protecting the area from further damage.

Common respiratory illnesses such as the common cold, bronchitis, sinusitis, and pneumonia can cause a variety of symptoms including a productive cough and a stiff neck. When the body is invaded by contaminants, whether viral or bacterial in nature, the body responds by producing excessive mucous. Coughing can be caused by the body's attempts to clear the airways and rid the body of extra secretions. Stiff neck can be bought from continuous stress on the neck area from excessive coughing. However, when the cough and stiff neck are accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, vomiting, and headache, it may be more than just an infection process.

A serious medical illness in which there is a cough and a stiff neck, along with other flu-like symptoms, is a condition called meningitis. Meningitis is an infection process that affects the brain by causing inflammation of the covering around the brain, called the meninges. In some cases, meningitis can also affect the spinal cord. If left untreated, meningitis can cause other health problems, such as an increased risk of seizures, a condition in which there is an extreme amount of electrical activity in the brain that causes it to "seize up." Another complication of meningitis is the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome, a condition in which excessive fluid buildup causes an inability to breathe properly, jeopardizing overall well-being.

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