Is Cervicalgia (Neck Pain) Serious?

Medically Reviewed on 6/16/2022
Is Cervicalgia (Neck Pain) Serious?
Disorders and illnesses, affecting any structure in the neck, might potentially cause discomfort in the neck, as well as the shoulder area.

Cervicalgia is more often not a dangerous ailment, but it may create problems while working and doing daily chores and need to be dealt with head-on. The illness is rather common, and, in most cases, there is no cause to be concerned about it.

There are numerous potential causes of neck discomfort, most of which are amenable to treatment in the form of simple changes to your way of life. For instance, if you sit for long periods with bad posture at work, you may find that your muscles are stiff. Pain in the neck might be brought on by an injury sustained in a vehicle accident or even muscular tension brought on by overexerting oneself while exercising.

What is cervicalgia (neck pain)?

The neck, which is often referred to as the cervical spine area, is responsible for several important functions, including safeguarding the spinal cord, supporting the head, and allowing for a wide range of motion throughout the body.

  • The organization of the bones, nerves, muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the neck is a way to protect the neck and retain its flexibility.
  • This flexibility makes the structure of the neck prone to injury, so protecting the structure is important because it is always under strain from the pressure exerted by holding the head upright.
  • The tension that may be caused by certain actions puts pressure on the neck either gradually or in a rapid, abrupt burst, and the resultant pain can be very unpleasant. 
  • When the damage is confined to the region of the neck and does not manifest in other parts of the body, such as the arms or the lower back, the condition is called cervicalgia.

What are the structures of the neck?

Disorders and illnesses, affecting any structure in the neck, might potentially cause discomfort in the neck, as well as the shoulder area. Seven vertebrae are the bone-building blocks of the spine in the neck (the cervical vertebrae), and they surround the spinal cord and canal. These vertebrae are in the cervical region of the spine. These vertebrae have discs in between them, and the nerves that exit the head and neck travel via this area. 

Structures found in the neck include the muscles of the neck, arteries, veins, lymph glands, thyroid glands, parathyroid glands, esophagus, and trachea. Other structures include the larynx and trachea. Diseases of any of these structures, including cervical spinal stenosis, myofascial pain, ankylosing spondylitis, spinal tumor (which is very uncommon), cervical foraminal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis, may all result in discomfort in the neck.

5 treatments for cervicalgia (neck pain)

  1. Use over-the-counter painkillers
    • A common choice is Tylenol (acetaminophen), Aleve (naproxen sodium), Advil, and Motrin IB (ibuprofen). Ibuprofen offers both pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects. Your neck discomfort may linger even after you have finished the pain medication you have chosen to take, so be prepared.
  2. Stretch your neck a bit
    • Taking a few minutes out of each day to stretch your neck could be beneficial. Refrain from doing any workouts until the most severe part of your discomfort has subsided. Use a heating pad or wait until after you have had a warm shower or bath before doing any of these exercises. Alternatively, you may try warming up the region beforehand.
  3. Cold compression
    • You may use ice packs on the affected area for up to 20 minutes at a time, many times each day. The inflammation that is brought on by a neck injury may respond well to this treatment.
  4. Get a massage
    • A massage performed by a trained professional could help relieve sore muscles. Your neck's muscles and other tissues will be worked on during a massage session. The circulation of blood and other fluids is improved as a result of this.
  5. Hot shower
    • A hot shower and a warm towel are two examples of ways that heat may be used topically to speed up the healing process.


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Medically Reviewed on 6/16/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Binder AI. Neck pain. BMJ Clin Evid. 2008;2008:1103.

Johns Hopkins Medicine. Neck Pain and Problems.