Lesser-Known Causes of Neck Pain

Lesser-Known Causes of Neck Pain

Arthritis, tech neck, and pulled muscles are three common causes of neck pain, but these are far from the only causes of neck pain. Knowing what’s causing your neck pain is the first step to finding relief. 

We encourage you to seek medical care if your neck pain persists for more than a day or two. Here at International Spine Pain & Performance Center, our team of providers specializes in diagnosing and treating neck pain. 

Below, we shed light on some of the lesser-known causes of neck pain.

Less common causes of neck pain

In addition to the common neck strain 一 which easily occurs due to poor posture while typing, texting, reading, or even sleeping in an odd position 一 there are many lesser-known causes, including: 

Spine issues

While many people regard the spine as your “back,” the reality is that your spine runs from your neck down to your tailbone. The part of your spine in your neck is called your cervical spine. 

Any spine issues in your cervical spine can cause neck pain. This includes:

Herniated discs and spinal stenosis can cause nerve-related symptoms, such as tingling, burning sensations, or numbness in your hands and arm. This is because spinal stenosis and herniated discs can both pressure your nerves and irritate them.


Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that causes fatigue and body-wide pain, and that includes your neck too. The upper back, shoulders, and neck are some of the tender spots when it comes to fibromyalgia pain. 


Although this isn’t a common cause of neck pain, tumors can cause neck pain. Tumors in your cervical spine can reduce your range of motion and cause pain that isn’t alleviated with traditional measures. Head and neck cancers account for only 4% of all cancer cases, making this a less rare cause of neck pain.

Lyme disease

Lyme disease 一 a disease transmitted to humans from tick bites 一 is notorious for the bull’s eye rash it causes. Other symptoms include stiff and painful neck, fatigue, and achy joints.

Thoracic outlet syndrome

Neck pain is a common symptom of thoracic outlet syndrome, in which the narrow space between your first rib and collarbone is too tiny and contributes to neck pain and stiffness.


Migraines are notorious for the intense head pain, aura, and nausea they cause, but migraines also cause neck pain. According to the American Migraine Foundation, neck pain occurs more frequently in a migraine attack than nausea. It can also occur in the prodrome phase of a migraine attack, signaling the impending head pain.

What’s causing your neck pain?

The key to finding relief from your neck pain is first determining what specifically is contributing to your symptoms. Because we take a multidisciplinary approach to managing neck pain, we first perform a comprehensive exam, review your symptoms, recommend specific tests to assess the strength and mobility of your neck, and review diagnostic imaging such as an X-ray or MRI.

Whether you’re dealing with a common neck condition or one of these lesser-known ones, our team is ready to offer a variety of treatments, including:

Don’t let neck pain go untreated. To learn more about our pain management options or to schedule an appointment in our Arlington, Virginia, or Washington D.C office, call 202-851-7034.

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