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What can cause severe neck pain?

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Quick Answer

Muscle strains, joint issues, compressed nerves and injuries can cause severe neck pain, according to Mayo Clinic. Illnesses, chronic conditions, infections or tumors, and referred pain are other sources of severe neck pain, adds WebMD.

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What can cause severe neck pain?
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Full Answer

Muscle strains can develop when holding the head and/or neck in certain positions for prolonged periods of time, explains WebMD. Bending the neck while talking on the phone and sleeping in an odd position are activities that can cause muscular neck pain.

As people age, joints wear out, bone spurs develop and discs herniate, notes Mayo Clinic. When these conditions occur in the neck, severe pain can be the result. Injuries to the neck, such as those that happen when engaging in sports or those incurred during an automobile accident, also result in severe neck pain, WebMD states.

Meningitis, a serious illness in which the tissues of the brain and spinal cord become inflamed, causes severe neck pain and requires immediate medical care, WebMD reports. Influenza causes muscle aches throughout the body, including the neck. Fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis are examples of chronic conditions that can cause severe neck pain. Referred pain is felt in one area when the source is in another area. For example, jaw pain can sometimes cause referred neck pain, and a heart attack can also cause neck pain.

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