Neck Pain

Neck pain: causes, symptoms, and relief

Share this article


Neck pain is, well, a pain in the neck! (Sorry we went there… it was too easy. We had to!) Whether it’s from sleeping in a funny position, previous injury, or even simply moving your neck ‘just so’ (we hate when that happens!), a crick in your neck can really dampen your day, to say the least. Here’s a little on why neck pain occurs and what you can do for some neck pain relief when it does - because moving about your day should put a smile on your face, not a wince of pain.

Neck pain can affect anyone and most people experience it from time to time, often from poor posture or overuse. However, sometimes neck pain is caused by injury, such as whiplash, a fall, or a contact sports collision. If that’s the case, medical attention may be needed.1

Symptoms of neck pain

Neck pain symptoms can range from annoying to excruciating. Most neck pain symptoms are nothing to worry about. However, some symptoms may be signs of an issue that a doctor should check out. We’ll help you make sense of when neck pain is cause for concern and when it’s not.

Neck Pain Symptoms

Symptoms and signs of neck pain can include:2

  • Difficulty moving your neck, or a stiff neck
  • Muscle tightness or spasms
  • Sharp pain
  • General soreness, achy pain
  • Headache
  • Pain that increases when holding your head in one position, as in when driving or working at a computer

If your neck pain accompanies an injury, fall, or accident, seek medical attention immediately. It may be the sign of damage that requires medical treatment.

Neck pain can feel much scarier than it actually is. Most neck pain resolves itself on its own with the help of at-home remedies.3 However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, seeing a doctor is in order:4

  • Pain that persists for days without any improvement
  • Severe headache
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Trouble gripping objects
  • Pain that spreads down one or more of your arms or legs

Causes of neck pain

Essentially the top of our spine (and our spinal cord), our necks are made up of seven vertebrae that make up what’s called the cervical spine. (That’s why sometimes neck pain is called cervical pain). Acting as cushioning between these vertebrae are discs made out of cartilage. Nerves then extend throughout the neck, while muscles, tendons, and ligaments allow us to swivel our neck to move and support our head. Pain in the neck can be caused be strain or injury to any of these elements that make up the neck.5

Image showing the neck vertebrae where pain occurs

Depending on the cause, neck pain can be acute or chronic – in other words, short-lived and quickly resolved or lasting and recurring. 

Causes of Acute Neck Pain

Some acute neck pain causes include:6
  • Poor posture
  • Sleeping in an awkward position
  • Repetitive motions
  • Cervical radiculopathy, or a pinched nerve
  • Carrying a heavy bag on your shoulder
  • Trauma or injury
  • Non-specific causes

Causes of Chronic Pain

Some chronic neck pain causes include:

  • Cervical Osteoarthritis,7 also called cervical spondylosis

Cervical Osteoarthritis, or neck arthritis, occurs from wear and tear on your neck’s muscles and bones.

  • Cervical herniated disc (also known as a slipped disc)
  • Disease8

Some diseases such as meningitis or cancer can cause neck pain.

Sometimes emotional distress can cause neck pain, as well. Anxiety, stress, and even depression can cause the neck muscles to tense up, which can escalate into neck pain.9


Graphic showing how to have proper posture while standing and seated

How to avoid neck pain

  • applying heat using heating pads, baths, or warm, moist towels
  • massaging and manipulating the neck
  • stretching the neck10
  • reducing stress11
  • applying ice to the injured area
  • practicing good posture when sitting, standing, and walking12
  • sleeping in a position that supports the neck13
  • performing exercises to help keep the neck strong14
Neck Pain Treatment

Neck pain reliefGetting neck pain relief is the name of the game if you want to fully experience what’s going on around you (hello being able to turn your head to see a beautiful butterfly flitting by!). Of course it depends what is causing your neck pain as to how you treat it, and if you’re in any doubt talk to your doctor.

You can try Iodex UltraGel for neck pain caused by sprains, strains, and bruises of your muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. Iodex UltraGel’s powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient fights pain and inflammation at the source, speeding up natural healing. 15

Neck pain treatment

Show all references

Close references

Explore Iodex’s products for pain relief

Iodex UltraGel

Iodex UltraGel

Iodex UltraGel contains 1.16% Diclofenac Diethylamine, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It relieves pain and reduces internal inflammation.

Learn more

Iodex Multi-Purpose Pain Relief Balm

Iodex MultiPurpose Pain Relief Balm

Iodex Multi-Purpose Pain Relief Balm contains 5 active ingredients which provides a warming sensation followed by a soothing effect that helps in reducing inflammation. And more importantly, it starts to work within 4 minutes.

Learn more

Health, wellness & your pain

Pain is rarely just physical nor is it always solved by taking medicine alone. Iodex is your ally in helping you take more control of your pain journey, from the way to sleep, to what you eat, mental wellbeing and complementary pain relief therapies.