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Neck Pain But No Known Injury

Neck Pain But No Known Injury

It is not uncommon to have neck pain without a clear reason. A minor injury may have occurred without your knowledge. Poor posture or improper movement over a period of time may cause neck or back pain. Pain may be caused by overuse or misuse of the neck muscles or by poor posture, such as:

  • Holding your head in a forward posture or odd position while working, watching TV, or reading.
  • Watching TV or reading while lying down.
  • Sleeping on a pillow that is too high, too flat, or doesn't support your head.
  • Sleeping on your stomach with your neck twisted or bent.
  • Spending long periods of time resting your forehead on your upright fist or arm ("thinker's pose").
  • Stress. Tension may develop in the muscles that run from the back of the head across the back of the shoulder (trapezius muscle). These muscles may feel tight and painful.
  • Working or exercising using your upper body and arms.

Neck pain may also be caused by another serious health problem, such as arthritis , meningitis , the flu , or as a symptom of a heart attack .

Many people live with a certain amount of ongoing (chronic) pain . If chronic neck pain changes or becomes worse than usual, see your doctor.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Last Revised August 5, 2011

Last Revised: August 5, 2011

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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