Neck Muscle Pain and Treatments

The Different Types of Neck Muscle Pain and Treatments

Neck muscle pain is a common issue that affects many people at some point in their lives. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, around 15% to 20% of people in the United States suffer from chronic neck pain. But how do you know what type of neck muscle pain you’re experiencing, and more importantly, how can it be treated? In this article, we’ll explore the different types of neck muscle pain and their respective treatment options. Let’s dive in!

Strains and Sprains

Strains and sprains are among the most common types of neck muscle pain around the world. A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is overstretched or torn, while a sprain refers to ligaments being overstretched or torn. These injuries usually happen due to sudden movements, poor posture, or lifting heavy objects.


  • Rest: Give your neck a break by avoiding strenuous activities or heavy lifting.
  • Ice and heat: Apply ice to the affected area for the first 48 hours, then switch to heat therapy afterward.
  • Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs can help alleviate pain and swelling.
  • Physical therapy: Strengthening and stretching exercises under the guidance of a professional can help restore functionality and prevent future injuries.


Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when the head is suddenly and forcefully thrown forward and backward, as often seen in car accidents or sports injuries. This rapid movement can cause damage to the muscles, ligaments, and nerves in the neck.


  • Rest: Similar to strains and sprains, it’s important to avoid activities that worsen pain or symptoms.
  • Pain relief: Over-the-counter pain medication or topical creams can provide relief.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapists can tailor exercises and stretches specific to your needs to alleviate pain.
  • Massage and acupuncture: These alternative treatments may help alleviate pain and tension.

Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic headaches are a type of neck muscle pain that is referred to the head, causing what feels like a headache. They typically originate from the base of the neck and are due to tightness in the muscles, joint issues, or nerve problems.


  • Medication: Anti-inflammatory and pain relief medications can help alleviate symptoms.
  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist can provide specific exercises to alleviate pressure on the neck and promote muscle relaxation.
  • Chiropractic care: Spinal manipulations performed by chiropractors can help correct misalignments in the neck, potentially providing relief from cervicogenic headaches.
  • Ergonomic adjustments: Assessing your workstation or daily activities to improve posture and reduce strain on the neck can help prevent recurring issues.

Tension Neck Syndrome

Tension neck syndrome is a condition caused by chronic tension in the neck muscles, often due to stress or poor posture. This tension can result in pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion in the neck.


  • Stress management: Identifying and managing the root cause of your stress can help alleviate tension in the neck muscles. To know how stress can cause back pain, read this blog.
  • Ergonomic adjustments: Adjusting your workspace or daily activities to reduce strain on the neck can help prevent recurrent pain.
  • Posture correction: A physical therapist can provide exercises and stretches to improve posture and reduce tension in the neck muscles.
  • Heat and cold therapy: Applying heat or cold therapy can help relax tight muscles and alleviate pain.

No matter what type of neck muscle pain you may be experiencing, it’s important to seek professional help. A qualified healthcare provider for neck muscle pain in Chicago can assess your condition and provide the appropriate treatment plan for long-term relief.

To Sum Up

Neck muscle pain can be caused by a variety of things and can range in intensity from mild to debilitating. Fortunately, treatment options exist to provide relief, whether it’s through medication, physical therapy, or alternative healing methods. If you’re suffering from neck muscle pain, it’s important to seek professional help for a proper diagnosis and tailored treatment plan. With the right care, you can get back to your daily activities without discomfort. Thank you for reading!