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Is My Neck Pain Normal

Is My Neck Pain Normal?

by Tony Matoska PT, DPT, CMPTLeave a Comment

Experiencing neck pain can be very worrisome, especially the first time. A lot of thoughts may be running through your head. What happened? Is this serious? Is this normal? You may be surprised to know that your neck pain is likely very normal. Studies have found that between 10-20% of the population is experiencing neck pain at any given time, and 54% have experienced neck pain within the last six months. Prevalence is generally higher in women than in men and peaks around 45 years of age.

Not only is experiencing neck pain normal, but once it’s occurred, there is a strong likelihood of it happening again. Studies suggest that 30% of people who experience neck pain develop chronic symptoms, and 37% of people with neck pain report persistent problems for at least 12 months. Most chronic cases are recurrent, meaning there is a period of improvement in symptoms followed by periods of worsening symptoms.

There are known risk factors that make you more likely to experience neck pain. These risk factors are similar to other types of pain and injury. They include genetic factors, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, sleep disorders, and psychopathology disorders such as depression or anxiety. Other risk factors include a history of neck pain or trauma such as head injury, whiplash injury, or certain sports injuries. You may be surprised that work can cause neck pain, but not specifically because of high-intensity labor or long periods of desk work. Workers with poor job satisfaction or perceived poor workplace environment are more likely to experience neck pain.

Fortunately, most neck pain episodes resolve on their own. Still, almost a third of those who experience neck pain have a recurrence of pain or continue symptoms more than one year after the start of the episode. For cases that fail to resolve on their own, physical therapy is a very effective treatment to relieve symptoms, prevent recurrence of pain, and prevent or limit disability. Studies have found that exercise is the most effective treatment for neck pain. Other treatments, such as manual therapy and dry needling, offer short-term improvements and can improve outcomes when combined with an exercise program. Spine specialists at Athletico are trained to have an in-depth understanding of the anatomy of the neck, pain mechanisms, and exercise prescription, making them experts in helping patients with neck pain.

Experiencing Neck Pain? We Can Help!

If you or someone you know are experiencing neck pain that isn’t resolving on its own, give your local Athletico Physical Therapy a call and request a Free Assessment. Free Assessments are available in-clinic or virtually through our Telehealth platform.

Request a Free Assessment

*Per federal guidelines, beneficiaries of plans such as Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, VHA and other federally funded plans are not eligible for free assessments.

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

1. D.G. Hoy, M. Protani, R. De, R. Buchbinder. The epidemiology of neck pain, Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology. Volume 24, Issue 6. 2010, Pages 783-792. ISSN 1521-6942.
2. Croft, Peter, et al. Risk Factors for Neck Pain: A Longitudinal Study in the General Population. Pain 93 (2001) 31-325.
3. Jasper D Bier, Wendy G.M Scholten-Peeters, J Bart Staal, Jan Pool, Maurits W van Tulder, Emmylou Beekman, Jesper Knoop, Guus Meerhoff, Arianne P Verhagen, Clinical Practice Guideline for Physical Therapy Assessment and Treatment in Patients With Nonspecific Neck Pain, Physical Therapy, Volume 98, Issue 3, March 2018, Pages 162–171,

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