Many people suffer from neck pain and can have difficulty tracking it down or deciding whether to talk to a doctor or not. There are several common causes of pain you should consider before seeing your doctor about neck pain.

Muscle Strain

adult man holding back of his neck in painMuscle strain is, far and away, the most common cause of neck pain. Take time to think about how you use your neck every day. If, for example, you spend a lot of time sitting at your desk or working on your smartphone, you might have neck strain related to poor posture or what is now known as “ text neck.”

Also ask if you’ve done anything unusual with your neck recently, such as painting a ceiling or going surfing , which would require you to hold your neck in an unusual position for a while.

Another important thing to remember is that using your upper body muscles can put strain on your neck, so if you’ve been lifting more weight than usual lately, it might be the cause of your neck pain.


Stress is essentially another cause of muscle strain. Stress can cause you to tense up your muscles in the head and neck, which can lead to serious muscle strain. Even if you’re mostly clenching your jaw , the strain can translate over because of the way that jaw and neck muscles work together.

Poor Sleep Position

You spend a quarter to a third of your life sleeping. If your neck is in an uncomfortable position during sleep, you’re going to learn about it. Make sure you’re sleeping on your back or side, and make sure your pillow is properly supportive.

Whiplash Injury

Whiplash injury occurs when your neck undergoes a rapid acceleration that strains the soft tissues holding the bones together. The most common cause of whiplash injury is a car accident, where injury can occur even if the accident happens at a relatively slow speed. You can also get whiplash injuries from a blow to the head.

Can’t Track Down the Cause of Your Neck Pain?

If you can’t figure out why your neck is hurting, talk to your doctor about the risk of degenerative or chronic illness, such as arthritis, that could be causing your neck pain.

But if you and your doctor can’t identify the source of your neck pain, TMJ might be to blame. For help tracking down the source of your neck pain in Columbia, SC, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a TMJ dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.