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Dr. Mark Hosko, MD, July 16 2021

Neck Injuries: Common Causes, Effects & Treatment

Common Signs of Neck Injuries: Pain, Symptoms & Care

A neck injury of any kind can seriously limit our mobility or ability to perform daily activities. Knowing whether or not your neck pain or injury is serious can be difficult to assess, and should be done by a medical provider or neck injury doctor. A little later on, we will discuss neck injury symptoms. People often delay care in hopes that injuries will resolve on their own. With the possibility of a serious neck injury leading to further (or sometimes irreversible) damage, it is advised to seek medical attention to further diagnose the cause of your injury and identify the proper neck injury treatment for you. Types of neck injuries may include strains or sprains, stiff or sore necks, pinched nerves, or disc injuries. Common sources of neck injuries may include trauma, lifting, accidents, or any sudden movements. These varying causes and types of neck injury may influence the type of treatment that is right for you. Treatment for neck injuries may entail medication, rest, alternative therapy, or surgery. You should see a medical provider to identify the appropriate course of treatment for neck pain of any extent. 

What are some common neck injuries?

Neck injuries can occur for many reasons ranging from sleeping poorly, auto accidents, trauma, lifting objects, or sometimes even just a quick turn of our head. Neck injuries may be unpredictable, but it is no question that when you experience one, it will likely consume a considerable amount of your focus. 

With so much of our daily tasks dependent on the ability to move our necks, a neck injury is something to be taken seriously regardless of pain levels. You will know you have a neck injury of some sort if you have difficulty moving your head, have stiffness or pain in your neck, or even are experiencing muscle spasms. We will later discuss which symptoms to be alert for when deciding the severity of your neck injury.

Some common neck injuries include:

Strains and sprains- Torn ligaments in our neck are referred to as a sprain. When muscles or tendons are torn, it may be referred to as a strain. There are many causes for both, including everyday physical activity to trauma from an accident.

Pinched nerves- Neck injuries of any kind may cause bone or tendons to impinge on surrounding nerves, creating an uncomfortable pinched feeling.

Disc injuries- Also referred to as herniated discs, disc injuries can be caused by both sudden trauma and everyday wear and tear.

How do I know if my neck injury is serious?

The inability to maintain normal movements of our body is something to always be taken seriously. While symptoms and severity of a neck injury may range, there are a few symptoms you may want to look out for in the case your neck pain or injury is more serious, which can cause irreversible damage. A serious neck injury may be a cause of spinal cord damage or fracture. Severe neck pain resulting from spinal cord damage has the ability to even lead to paralysis. Signs of a serious neck injury or one that involves spinal cord damage may present with the following symptoms:

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is encouraged to seek immediate medical attention.

When should I worry about neck injury?

As we have discussed, there are signs of serious neck injuries that you may look out for inclusive of tingling or weakness in surrounding extremities, or pain that does not resolve with rest or treatment. It is recommended to seek a medical evaluation for any range of neck symptoms. This not only may provide you proper guidance on treatment, but alleviates that unnecessary worry about the source of your pain. Worrying, after all, won’t cure your neck pain.

How long until neck pain goes away?

For most mild neck injuries, proper treatment along with rest can result in healing times ranging from days to week. This, of course, is heavily dependent on following a proper treatment plan and avoiding overuse or overexertion of your neck. As our necks are involved in most movements we take, this piece may feel challenging. Although resting may feel out of the question for the demands of your everyday life, ensuring proper rest may greatly reduce the time it takes for your neck injury to heal and for the pain to subside. In some circumstances, including serious neck injuries, pain may last much longer than weeks. In this case, working with a medical provider or neck injury doctor is critical in establishing an appropriate pain management plan for you. Living with chronic neck pain is not easy, and working with a professional is advised in order to maintain a sustainable day to day pain level.

Why does neck pain last so long?

There are a few reasons why your neck pain may seem to be lasting long. One reason may be due to improper adherence to a treatment plan or rest. The inability to allow your neck injury to heal may result in longer durations in the pain you experience. Another reason neck pain may last long could be due to a condition that may require serious medical attention. As we discussed earlier, some neck injuries can be a result of spinal cord damage, which can result in irreversible damage to our bodies.

How do you know if neck pain is serious?

A diagnosis from a medical provider or neck injury doctor may identify if the neck pain you are experiencing is serious. While many times neck pain is the result of a mild injury, there are serious cases that involve medical intervention.

What is the most common cause of neck pain?

While there are many types of neck pain, the most common type of neck pain is a muscle strain. As we discussed earlier, a muscle strain is any muscles or tendons in the neck that are either torn or stretched too far. A muscle strain can result from various types of movement, inclusive of bad posture, lifting, or even sleeping in an unfavorable position. Most muscle strains resolve within days to weeks, following proper rest, or treatment advised by a medical provider.

When should I see a doctor for neck pain?

Seeing a doctor for any neck pain is important in assessing the extent of any injury. It is recommended to see a doctor even for mild neck pain. Ignoring mild neck pain and assuming it will resolve on its own is a common mistake people make when experiencing neck pain. This delay in care can result in further trauma or overexertion of your neck injury. This may lead to even worse pain levels and longer duration of healing time. As mentioned earlier, some signs to seek immediate attention include tingling or serious pain in other parts of the body, or loss of bowel/bladder function.

Can neck pain be a sign of something serious?

While neck pain may oftentimes be a mild condition that can resolve on its own, there are cases in which neck pain can be a sign of something more serious. Serious conditions that may present with neck pain are inclusive of cardiovascular disease, rheumatological diseases, and neurological conditions. While these conditions may be a less common cause of neck pain, they can be very serious. Delaying care for your neck pain or injury is not advised, especially if it is persisting following proper rest and treatment plan advised by a medical provider.

Why choose Portland Urgent Care for Neck Pain?

By choosing Portland Urgent Care, you are choosing wellness. Our unique model offers a comprehensive set of services inclusive of medical exams, treatment plans, and pain management that may improve the neck pain you are experiencing. Finances should never get in the way of living a neck pain free life. At Portland Urgent Care, we accept most insurance plans and provide discounted rates to those who pay at the time of service.

At Portland Urgent Care, in partnership with Portland Wellness Care, we work to offer each patient a care plan that suits the severity of their pain and injuries. Neck pain and injuries are not all the same, and thus shouldn’t be treated as such. At Portland Urgent Care, we offer a custom care approach, rather than a one size fits all. Our integrative injury rehab services are inclusive of physiotherapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and massage- all of which may be a part of a treatment plan to address your neck pain or injury.

Our customized care for neck pain may be inclusive of medical exams, customized treatment plans, and pain management options that are right for you.


Living with neck pain can be incredibly painful and disruptive to our everyday activities. While some neck pain is the result of minor neck injuries, it is still recommended to seek medical attention to identify the treatment plan that is right for you. Whether you are suffering from a mild strain or more chronic neck pain, Portland Urgent Care is the place for you. At Portland Urgent Care, we understand the importance in not delaying seeking care for any reason. If you are concerned about finances, Portland Urgent Care accepts most insurance types. Neck pain or injuries of any kind should not go untreated. A medical exam from our providers may identify the appropriate treatment plan for you. Neck pain injuries may resolve from our array of services inclusive of physiotherapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture and massage. 

For more information on injuries, see our related blogs:

Neck Injury Treatment

Types of Back Injuries

How Do You Know If Your Back Injury Is Serious?

Types of Ankle Injuries

Common Types & Causes of Knee Injuries

How To Treat & Recover From Knee Injuries

Wrist Ligament Injuries

Wrist Injuries Causes & Treatment

Difference Between Sprains vs Strains

What Is A Laceration Wound?

Written by

Dr. Mark Hosko, MD

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