Woman with neck pain holding her neck

Neck Pain Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Share this article


Neck pain is, well, a pain in the neck! (Sorry we went there… it was too easy. We had to!) Whether it’s from sleeping in a funny position, previous injury, or even simply moving your neck ‘just so’ (we hate when that happens!), a crick in your neck can really dampen your day, to say the least. Here’s a little on why... neck pain occurs and what you can do for some neck pain relief when it does - because moving about your day should put a smile on your face, not a wince of pain.

Neck pain can affect anyone and most people experience it from time to time, often from poor posture or overuse. However, sometimes neck pain is caused by injury, such as whiplash, a fall, or a contact sports collision. If that’s the case, medical attention may be needed.

Read More

Symptoms of neck pain

Neck pain symptoms can range from annoying to excruciating. Most neck pain symptoms are nothing to worry about. However, some symptoms may be signs of an issue that a doctor should check out. We’ll help you make sense of when neck pain is a cause for concern and when it’s not.

Man in a car holding his neck - learn about neck pain symptoms

Symptoms and signs of neck pain can include:

  • Difficulty moving your neck, or a stiff neck
  • Muscle tightness or spasms
  • Sharp pain
  • General soreness, achy pain
  • Headache
  • Pain that increases when holding your head in one position, as in when driving or working at a computer

If your neck pain accompanies an injury, fall, or accident, seek medical attention immediately. It may be the sign of damage that requires medical treatment.

Neck pain can feel much scarier than it actually is. Most neck pain resolves itself on its own with the help of at-home remedies. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, seeing a doctor is in order:

  • Pain that persists for days without any improvement
  • Severe headache
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Trouble gripping objects
  • Pain that spreads down both of your arms and legs

Causes of neck pain

Essentially the top of our spine (and our spinal cord), our necks are made up of seven vertebrae that make up what’s called the cervical spine. (That’s why sometimes neck pain is called cervical pain). Acting as cushioning between these vertebrae are discs made out of cartilage. Nerves then extend throughout the neck, while muscles, tendons, and ligaments allow us to swivel our neck to move and support our head. Pain in the neck can be caused by strain or injury to any of these elements that make up the neck.

neck vertebrae where pain occurs

Depending on the cause, neck pain can be acute or chronic – in other words, short-lived and quickly resolved, or lasting and recurring. 

Sometimes emotional distress can cause neck pain as well. Anxiety, stress, and even depression can cause the neck muscles to tense up, which can escalate into neck pain.

Woman at computer holding her neck - learn about acute neck pain causes

Some acute neck pain causes include:
  • Poor posture
  • Sleeping in an awkward position
  • Repetitive motions
  • Cervical radiculopathy, or a pinched nerve
  • Carrying a heavy bag on your shoulder
  • Trauma or injury
  • Non-specific causes

Doctor helping woman adopt proper posture - learn about chronic neck pain causes

Some chronic neck pain causes include:

  • Cervical osteoarthritis, also called cervical spondylosis

 or neck arthritis, occurs from wear and tear of your neck’s muscles and bones.

  • Cervical herniated disc (also known as a slipped disc)
  • Disease

Some diseases such as meningitis or cancer can cause neck pain.


how to have proper posture while standing and seated

How to ease or avoid neck pain

  • applying heat using heating pads, baths, or warm, moist towels
  • massaging and manipulating the neck
  • stretching the neck
  • reducing stress
  • applying ice to the injured area
  • practicing good posture when sitting, standing, and walking
  • sleeping in a position that supports the neck
  • performing exercises to help keep the neck strong
how Voltarol Gel gives neck pain relief

Neck pain reliefGetting neck pain relief is the name of the game if you want to fully experience what’s going on around you (hello being able to turn your head to see a beautiful butterfly flitting by!) Of course it depends what is causing your neck pain as to how you treat it, and if you’re in any doubt talk to your pharmacist or doctor.

You can try Voltarol gels for neck pain caused by sprains, strains, and bruises of your muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. The powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient in Voltarol Gel and Plaster relieves pain and reduces inflammation, helping to speed up natural healing. So you can get back to enjoying moving again!

Neck pain treatments

Explore Voltarol products for pain relief

Voltarol Max Strength Pain Relief 2.32% Gel can help relieve your pain

Voltarol Max Strength Pain Relief 2.32% Gel

For all-day targeted relief from joint pain - apply once in morning & evening.

Learn More

Voltarol 140mg Medicated Plaster for targeted anti-inflammatory pain relief

Voltarol 140mg Medicated Plaster

Voltarol 140mg Medicated Plaster provides up to 2x more powerful pain relief*. The plaster continuously releases the anti-inflammatory ingredient diclofenac for up to 12 hours, effectively relieving pain. *vs. non-medicated placebo patch.

Learn More

Share this article


Health, wellness & your pain

Pain is rarely just physical nor is it always solved by taking medicine alone. Voltarol is your ally in helping you take more control of your pain journey, from the way to sleep, to what you eat, mental wellbeing and complementary pain relief therapies.