Welcome to Buoy Health

Learn about your difficulty moving the neck, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your difficulty moving the neck from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Difficulty Moving the Neck Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having difficulty moving the neck.

Take a quiz
Your Difficulty Moving the Neck May Also be Known as:
Can't move neck
Difficulty moving neck
Trouble moving neck

Top 8 Difficulty Moving the Neck Causes

  1. 1.Congenital Wryneck

    Torticollis is commonly known as "wry neck." In congenital muscular torticollis, a child is born with a neck that tilts toward one shoulder, and the chin rotates toward the other shoulder.

    You should visit your primary care physician, because it is important to address torticollis within your first year of life, otherwise permanent facial deformity may result. The treatment of choice is physical therapy, which your physician can help coordinate.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    neck bump, swollen neck, hard neck lump, head tilting to one side with chin rotated to opposite direction, difficulty moving the neck
    Symptoms that always occur with congenital wryneck:
    head tilting to one side with chin rotated to opposite direction, difficulty moving the neck
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Neck Sprain

    The neck is made up of 7 bones held together by muscles and ligaments. Any stretch of these muscles or ligaments causes a sprain, which will cause pain and affect your ability to move the neck.

    You can treat a neck sprain like most sprains - rest (a neck collar if necessary), ice (for 10-20 minutes at a time), pain relievers (like ibuprofen), and gentle massage.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, shoulder pain, pain in the back of the neck, difficulty moving the neck, neck pain
    Symptoms that always occur with neck sprain:
    pain in the back of the neck
    Symptoms that never occur with neck sprain:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  3. 3.Myofascial Pain Syndrome

    Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic musculoskeletal syndrome caused by trigger points within muscle. Pressure on these points causes pain in the area around the point as well as in other body parts, a phenomenon known as referred pain.

    You should visit your primary care physician. This complex chronic condition is often treated with injections and physical therapy.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, spontaneous shoulder pain, pain in the back of the neck, shoulder blade pain, difficulty moving the shoulder
    Symptoms that always occur with myofascial pain syndrome:
    tender muscle knot
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Whiplash

    Whiplash, a soft tissue injury to the neck, is the result of a sudden jolt to the neck. This injury most frequently occurs after a car is rear-ended.

    You do not need treatment. Your whiplash should improve within a week. In the meantime, you can take an over-the-counter painkiller to manage your pain. If your symptoms do not improve, you should see your primary care physician.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, pain in the back of the neck, stiff neck, arm weakness, shoulder pain from an injury
    Symptoms that always occur with whiplash:
    neck pain from an injury, pain in the back of the neck
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

    Difficulty Moving the Neck Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having difficulty moving the neck.

    Take a quiz
  5. 5.Wryneck

    Wryneck is a twisted neck in which the head is tipped to one side, while the chin is turned to the other.

    This is a self-limiting condition. If you are experiencing any pain, you can take over the counter pain medication like Tylenol

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    neck pain on one side, difficulty moving the neck, constant neck pain, pain that causes the neck to bend
    Symptoms that always occur with wryneck:
    pain that causes the neck to bend, neck pain on one side, constant neck pain
    Symptoms that never occur with wryneck:
    neck pain that shoots to the arm, arm weakness, arm numbness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  6. 6.Klippel - Feil Syndrome

    Klippel-Feil Syndrome is a bone disorder that is present at birth (congenital). In this condition, two or more vertebra (bones of the spine) are joined together in the neck. This results in three major symptoms - a short neck, a low-appearing hairline at the back of the head, and limited range of motion of the neck.

    You should visit your primary care physician who will likely coordinate care with a muscle and bone specialist (orthopedic surgeon). This condition is corrected with surgery.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    difficulty moving the neck
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Bacterial Meningitis

    Meningitis is a bacterial infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord (meninges). It is a serious infection as it may affect the nervous system.

    You should seek care urgently at anEmergency Room by calling 911. Tests need to be run as soon as possible in order to determine the cause of the infection, and treat as soon as possible to avoid lasting complications. Early diagnosis and treatment is vital for the treatment of meningitis.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, nausea, being severely ill, fever
    Symptoms that always occur with bacterial meningitis:
    being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  8. 8.Retropharyngeal Abscess (Adult)

    Retropharyngeal abscess is a collection of pus in the tissues in the back of the throat. It is a potentially life-threatening medical condition.

    This is a medical emergency. Please seek out urgent care at your closest Emergency Department today. Diagnosis is done with imaging. Treatment is immediate surgical drainage and antibiotics.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, loss of appetite, sore throat, being severely ill, shortness of breath
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Difficulty Moving the Neck

  • Q.How long has your shoulder pain been going on?
  • Q.How would you explain the cause of your shoulder pain?
  • Q.About your [shoulder], do you notice any of the following?
  • Q.Is it the front or back of the neck?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our difficulty moving the neck symptom checker.

Take a quiz

Difficulty Moving the Neck Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced difficulty moving the neck have also experienced:

    • 21% Pain in One Shoulder
    • 21% Stiff Neck
    • 8% Pain in the Back of the Neck
  • People who have experienced difficulty moving the neck were most often matched with:

    • 15% Neck Sprain

Difficulty Moving the Neck Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having difficulty moving the neck.

Take a quiz