Neck Pain When Bending The Head Forward Symptoms & Causes

Understand neck pain when bending the head forward symptoms, including 9 causes & common questions.

Neck Pain When Bending The Head Forward Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your neck pain when bending the head forward

Contents

  1. 9 Possible Causes
  2. Real-Life Stories
  3. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  4. Statistics
  5. Related Articles

9 Possible Neck Pain When Bending The Head Forward Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced neck pain when bending the head forward. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Neck sprain

Neck sprain, sometimes called "whiplash," means that the ligaments – the tough, fibrous bands that connect bones together – in the neck have been torn or overstretched.

It is caused by a sudden impact that causes the head to whip back and forth very suddenly, most commonly from an automobile accident or riding a fast amusement park ride. A sports injury may force the neck to overstretch, spraining the ligaments.

Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and upper back; dizziness; ringing in the ears; and sometimes spots of numbness in the hands and arms.

It is important to see a medical provider about these symptoms, to rule out any damage to the spinal cord. Paralysis, difficulty walking, or loss of control over bladder and bowels indicate a medical emergency. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination, tests of reflexes, and sometimes x-ray, CT scan, or MRI.

Treatment includes rest and over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to ease pain and reduce inflammation. Muscle relaxants may be prescribed.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: headache, pain in the back of the neck, shoulder pain, 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

Bacterial meningitis

Meningitis describes inflammation of the meninges, the layers of membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Viruses, fungi, bacteria, and other rare causes can lead to meningitis. Streptococcus, Neisseria, Listeria, and Haemophilus are common bacterial causes of mening...

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Lyme disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial illness transmitted through the bite of the deer tick (black-legged tick) after it has been attached for at least 36-48 hours. These may be tiny, immature ticks that are difficult to see, often attaching in a place on the body where hair grows.

The disease does not spread through casual contact, either between humans or between humans and pets.

Early symptoms include fever, chills, headache, and body aches. There may be a rash around the tick bite, which sometimes enlarges to form a clear circle around the bite.

Later symptoms are severe with headaches, neck stiffness, further rashes, facial drooping (palsy,) and joint pain and swelling. This is a medical emergency. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Untreated Lyme disease in a pregnant woman can lead to stillbirth, but antibiotics will usually prevent this.

Diagnosis is made through symptoms as well as a blood test.

Treatment consists of oral antibiotics in most cases, though severe cases may require IV antibiotics.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, headache, irritability, muscle aches, loss of appetite

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Aseptic meningitis

Aseptic meningitis refers to inflammation of the meninges caused by something other than a bacterial infection, most commonly, a viral infection. Meningitis in itself is a broad term that refers to inflammation of the meninges, the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Th...

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Neck Pain When Bending The Head Forward Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your neck pain when bending the head forward

Whiplash

Whiplash, or neck strain, occurs when the ligaments tough, fibrous bands that connect bones in the neck have are overstretched or torn. Whiplash is caused by a sudden impact that causes the head to whip back and forth very suddenly, such as during an automobile accident, a fast amusement park ride, or a sport...

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Tension headache (previously undiagnosed)

Tension headache is described as feeling like there is a band around the head that gets tighter and tighter. The headaches may occur in episodes – a few times a week – or chronically, where they almost never entirely go away.

This is a common type of headache but the cause remains unclear. It may be a combination of stress and an overactive sensitivity to pain.

Symptoms include dull, aching pain and tightness in the forehead, sides, and back of the head, and sometimes pain in the neck and shoulder muscles. Unlike migraines, there is usually no nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light.

Tension headaches are not dangerous in themselves, but can interfere with work and with quality of life.

Diagnosis is made through patient history and sometimes physical examination. CT scan or MRI may be done to rule out a more serious cause of the headaches.

Over-the-counter and other pain relievers are sometimes prescribed. Lifestyle changes to reduce stress, improve diet, and increase exercise are often helpful, as is massage and biofeedback.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: history of headaches, nausea or vomiting, moderate headache, loss of appetite, mild headache

Symptoms that always occur with tension headache (previously undiagnosed): history of headaches

Symptoms that never occur with tension headache (previously undiagnosed): change in urine color, photo and phonophobia, throbbing headache, headache resulting from a head injury

Urgency: Self-treatment

Pinched nerve in the neck

A pinched nerve in the neck is also called cervical radiculopathy. It means that a nerve in the neck, at a point where it branches off from the spinal cord, is being compressed by the surrounding bones, muscles, or other tissues.

It can be caused by a traumatic injury, such as from sports or an automobile accident, especially if the injury results in a herniated disk. It may also arise from the normal wear and tear of aging.

Symptoms include sharp, burning pain with numbness and tingling from the neck to the shoulder, as well as weakness and numbness into the arm and hand.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and simple neurological tests to check the reflexes. Imaging such as x-ray, CT scan, or MRI may be done, as well as electromyography to measure nerve impulses in the muscles.

A pinched nerve in the neck often improves with simply a few days or weeks of rest. Physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroid injections into the spine can all be very helpful.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: pain in one shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, pain that radiates down arm, pain in the back of the neck, severe shoulder pain

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Bruise of the face/neck

A bruise is an area of skin discoloration. A bruise occurs when small blood vessels break and leak their contents into the soft tissue beneath the skin.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: neck injury, painful neck swelling, warm and red neck swelling, neck bruise

Symptoms that always occur with bruise of the face/neck: neck injury

Urgency: Self-treatment

Cervical spine injury requiring immobilization

Trauma to the head or neck can cause an injury to the spinal cord. Keeping the head from moving is necessary to keep the spinal cord from being damaged.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms:

Urgency: Emergency medical service

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Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Neck Pain When Bending The Head Forward

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Do you have any idea what may have caused your neck pain?
  • Are you experiencing a headache?
  • Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Can you fully move your neck in every direction?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Please take a quiz to find out what might be causing your neck pain when bending the head forward. These questions are also covered.

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Neck Pain When Bending The Head Forward Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced neck pain when bending the head forward have also experienced:

  • 9% Headache In The Forehead
  • 7% Headache That Worsens When Head Moves
  • 5% Pain In The Back Of The Neck

People who have experienced neck pain when bending the head forward were most often matched with:

  • 53% Bacterial Meningitis
  • 30% Lyme Disease
  • 15% Neck Sprain

People who have experienced neck pain when bending the head forward had symptoms persist for:

  • 27% Less than a week
  • 27% Over a month
  • 27% Less than a day

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

Neck Pain When Bending The Head Forward Symptom Checker

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