Read below about severe neck pain, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your severe neck pain 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.

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2 Potential Severe Neck Pain Causes

  1. 1.Pinched Nerve in the Neck

    With age, disks separating the cervical vertebrae (which are the bones of your spine in your neck) lose height as well as lose water content, becoming stiffer. The vertebrae move closer together, and nerves that exit between these bones may be pinched, causing pain to travel down the nerve as it passes through the arm. The pain is usually sharp, and some people report a "pins and needles" sensation or even complete numbness.

    Majority of patients get better with time (weeks to months).

    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

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  2. 2.Cervical Vertebral Fracture

    The seven bones in the neck are the cervical vertebrae. They support the head and connect it to the shoulders and body. A fracture, or break, in one of the cervical vertebrae is commonly called a broken neck.

    AAOS

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in the back of the neck, neck pain from an injury, severe neck pain, arm weakness, leg weakness
    Symptoms that always occur with cervical vertebral fracture:
    neck pain from an injury, pain in the back of the neck
    Symptoms that never occur with cervical vertebral fracture:
    spontaneous neck pain
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Severe Neck Pain

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

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our severe neck pain symptom checker to find out more.

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Severe Neck Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced severe neck pain have also experienced:

    • 6% Headache
    • 4% Pain in One Shoulder
    • 3% Throbbing Headache
  • People who have experienced severe neck pain had symptoms persist for:

    • 28% Less Than a Week
    • 27% Less Than a Day
    • 27% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced severe neck pain were most often matched with:

    • 10% Pinched Nerve in the Neck
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

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