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Common Causes of Neck Pain and Effective Treatments

Neck pain is a serious and pervasive problem in the United States. According to a 2017 study, 10-20% of adults will report neck pain symptoms during their lifetime. Unfortunately, the condition could easily be caused by a number of different issues, and it can be hard for us to pinpoint exactly what is creating it. This is why it is important to discuss your pain with a doctor. 

At McNulty Spine, Dr. Patrick S. McNulty and the rest of our team wants to help patients discover the reason behind their neck pain, and start finding effective treatments as soon as possible. Below are a few of the most common causes of neck pain and the treatments we offer to help you start feeling like yourself again. 

Poor posture 

One of the most prevalent causes of neck pain is poor posture. Many people sit at computers all day, hunched over their work, while others spend hours with their heads tilted downward, staring at their cellphones. This can create significant spinal deformity, which can lead to serious discomfort. 

A number of treatments can be implemented into your daily life to deal with this issue, including good posture exercises, doing abdominal crunches to strengthen your ab muscles, using a pillow to support your back, and more. The goal here is to retrain the brain to maintain better posture. 

Spinal stenosis 

Another common cause of neck pain is spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is sometimes the result of arthritis, and it creates pressure on the spinal cord as the spinal column itself becomes narrower. While this problem is often more likely to occur in the low back, it can also occur in the neck, creating neck pain, tingling in the arms or legs, and even bladder incontinence. 

Treatments for spinal stenosis can range from over-the-counter pain meds to steroid shots to physical therapy to surgery, depending on the severity of the issue. 

Cervical radiculopathy 

Also known as a pinched nerve, this is another very common cause of neck pain. Tingling sensations, weakness, and electrical or burning pain are all associated with this issue. Many people believe a pinched nerve will simply correct itself on its own, but if it becomes severe enough, it can create lasting damage. 

Physical therapy is often used to treat pinched nerves in the neck. This can be a great way to minimize discomfort and help the nerve start to function normally again. Other treatments, such as nerve block injections, might be used for issues of acute pain. 

Herniated or bulging discs 

The discs in the spine are similar to jelly donuts with the soft, inner portion protected by a stronger, outer portion. If the inner portion ruptures, this can cause severe neck and back pain. At first, you might not notice any symptoms, but as the problem gets worse, shooting pain in the neck, back, and arms can occur, as well as numbness and tingling. 

Treatment can include physical therapy, muscle relaxants, and surgery if the issue is serious enough. A cervical disc replacement might be necessary for a severe herniated disc. 


Osteoarthritis occurs when your joints become inflamed as a result of your cartilage beginning to disintegrate. This can occur at any time during a person’s life, although it can also be a side effect of old age. Osteoarthritis can cause neck pain as well as swollen joints and stiffness. 

Treatment can include physical therapy and pain relievers. While it is a rather new option, radiofrequency ablation has been known to be helpful for some forms of osteoarthritis. 


Finally, it’s common for neck pain to be the result of an injury. If you have been injured recently, it’s important to find out if you might have hurt your neck — or even if you may be straining your neck in order to overcompensate for the injured area. 

This type of problem could require many different types of treatment, depending on the severity of the injury. Not everyone requires surgery, and sometimes just rest can mend an injury that causes neck pain. 

Want to find out once and for all what’s causing your neck pain? Set up an appointment at our Henderson or Las Vegas office today. You can either call or request an appointment online

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