Symptoms of neck tension



Symptoms of neck tension

If you have a tensed neck, you may feel a stabbing pain in the back of the head, pain in the neck and the unpleasant feeling of pressure on the shoulders. Symptoms of neck tension are as diverse as the causes.

The 5 most common symptoms of a tensed neck

Tension headaches

Headaches are always unpleasant. Especially tension headaches are widely spread and a very common symptom of neck tension.

Neck pain

If the head is no longer able to move from left to right painlessly, doctors speak of neck pain usually triggered by tension.

Shoulder pain

Due to the classic mouse arm and tension of the trapezius muscle, shoulder pain is a very common symptom for office workers nowadays.

Stiff neck

If you are unable to turn your head due to movement pain, doctors speak of a stiff neck.


What many people don’t know is that when nausea occurs regularly, it may be the cause of tension in the neck muscles.

Other symptoms of neck pain

Due to various health problems, most people don’t suspect the original cause of the symptoms. If you’re suffering from any of these following symtoms, tension may be the reason.

Chronic tension and neck pain

Neck pain and chronic tension may appear unconspicuously. The restrictive posture one takes unconsciously to relieve pain can become quite dangerous, as it is causing more muscle tensions and weakens the muscles in neck and shoulder area.

Circulatory disturbances

Not only do many nerve fibers pass through the narrow neck area, but also do large blood vessels responsible for the care of the brain. This way, an unnatural pled head posture can have an negative impact on the brain’s supply.


If dizziness is a complaint, a pinched nerve may be the cause. Faulty nerve signal transmission to the eyes, ears and neck can cause discomforting dizziness.

Difference between migraine and tension headache

Neck pain is the most common symptom of migraine attacks. This is related to the course of the sensory nerve fibers in the head and neck area. Bilateral tension-type headache can be both a symptom and cause of a tense neck.

Pain in the back of the head

Pain in the back of the head is one of the common symptoms of neck pain. In most cases, it is radiating neck pain from tension that pulls up to the occipital bone.

Constant headaches

Neck tension combined with constant headache is not always the reason for neck pain. Special caution is advised when noticing symptoms such as impaired vision, stiff neck, rash or fever.


One would not immediately expect earache to be a trigger of neck pain, even though they are the reason of tension in the neck area more often than expected.

Post-coital orgasm headache

Usually, sex is supposed to be something fun that provides a relaxing feeling of exhiliration. But even this positive stress can lead to headaches. Starting in the neck area, the pain suddenly pulls into the head up until the temples and forehead.


Myosclerosis in the medical field, also known as advanced muscle hardening, is a strong and painful muscle tension that is usually noticable from the outside.

Relieve posture

A harmless term considering the possible negative outcomes that can come along with it. Especially for neck pain, it is not uncommon to hold a specific posture in order to relieve pain. This posture often leads to further tensions in the neck area.

Cracking the neck

There are people who are able to crack their fingers, knees or even their necks. Cracking in the neck comes from the vertebral joints, but as long as it stays complaint free, it is usually harmless.

Nerve damage

Tension can cause displaced cervical verterbrae, which can cause nerve damage. Here is what you can do against it:


Fainting can occur due to circulatory problems or cardiac arrythmias, but even neck pain can cause fainting if it is strong enough.


The nerves of balance and vision organs are closely related in their course and function to the joints and muscle fibers of the cervical spine. If problems in this area appear, ear noises are possible to occur.

Tension headache as a result of tensed short neck muscles

Short neck muscles are placed on the first two cervical vertebrae and the skull. In this low position and due to their proximity to the nerves and vessels, it is easy for them to cause tension headaches while being stiff.

Radiating in other body parts

When suffering from neck pain, you should always be alert as to how far the pain radiates in shoulders, arms, head or back. Nerves can be affected by diseases of the cervical spine, by reduced blood flow or compression.

Neck pain and its accompanying symptoms

Who doesn’t know this feeling? Suddenly, the neck pain hits you and you find yourself with restricted head movement, while hardly being able to explain this painful area in the neck. Sat in draught for too long? Had an inconvenient sleeping position? A sudden tingling, burning pain after a harmless head movement. A feeling almost numbing, moving forward to the back of the head, reaching out to the shoulders and persist. Or is the neck pain a dull, constant companion that just doesn’t want to leave? A colleague is massaging the neck area. Everything feels stiff and you almost lose track of your work because of the pain. Those are only a few symptoms of neck pain to mention, which surely any person can describe like this or similarly.

Why neck pain also affects other areas of the body

Due to the seven small cervical vertebrae, the cervical spine is very flexible in all directions. Together, the vertebrae surround the nerve fibers of the central nervous system, running from the brain stem through the spinal canal as a spinal cord. Muscles and tendons support this brilliant construction, making movements in all directions possible.

It’s almost a small wonder, knowing that most of the time everything runs so smoothly. Also taking the closeness of the head into consideration. Anything that happens in and around the head can affect the neck area, and that also goes the other way around, and that can include headaches just as much as depressive states. The list of dangers to the neck health is long and goes from circulatory disturbances to inconvenient monitor-based workplaces until meningitis. The list of individually perceived symptoms is even longer.

Which symptoms of neck pain are dangerous and which are harmless?
But what are the dangerous symptoms? When is a doctors visit inevitable and when is it enough to just place a hot cherry pit cushion around the neck? Even though neck pain is usually harmless, they are always a warning signal! In other words, it’s not enough to soothe the symptoms and wait calmly until it leaves again. Tracking search is necessary. Find possible causes by checking your individual symptoms, external circumstances, and the own mental-social and physical situation. Only like this it’s possible to care for a harmless neck pain to not re occur and mostly, not become chronic.

In the medical field one distignuishes between three kinds of neck pain: acute neck pain which can last up to three weeks, subacute neck pain (4-12 weeks), and chronic neck pain, lasting for longer than 12 weeks.

Pain diary for neck pain

For your own improvement measures and in preparation for a doctor’s visit, it is recommended to keep a pain diary. Especially if the neck pain is lasting longer than two weeks. Symptoms should be noted as detailed as possible :

  • Duration of pain (in intervals, continual, …)
  • When does the pain occur (in the night, in the morning, …)
  • In which situation (movement, outside, inside, weather, work, …)
  • Where exactly? (Localization of the pain center)
  • Radiating? (shoulders, shoulder blades, in the back, head, …)
  • Pain type? (pulling, dull, stinging, piercing, etc.)
  • Possibly external signs (hardening, nodules, redness, …)
  • In which life situation did the pain occur for the first time? (Changes of external or social circumstances such as change in diet, new sitting furniture, new pillow, new workplace, new relationship, new sport, disease, …)
  • Attendant symptoms (Fever, weakness, concentration disturbances, discomfort, sensation disturbances …)

Neck pain rarely occurs alone to me

Since I’ve been living with neck pain for years, I can tell from experience that it barely occurs alone. Depending on the cause that is. For me, the cause is primarily due to a tight neck by over-sedentary activity. The tension alone is not a big problem and also brings little restriction with it. However, the tensions affect several areas and cause pain

  • in the neck.
  • in the shoulders.
  • In the head.

I think everyone knows the feeling of the head becoming too heavy because the neck muscles are too tense. A long office day is usually the cause, with all its movement limitations and poor posture while sitting and standing.

The symptoms occur more during the day for me: From the afternoon the pain grows stronger, as if the neck had enough of the load and my tight neck radiates into the other parts of the body, which then can only respond with pain.

However, I’ve been able to significantly reduce the symptoms of my chronic condition by following everything that I recommend on this website. With some change in behavior, patience and consistency, the symptoms of tension and neck pain can be greatly reduced.


People suffering from tensions know many of the listed symptoms. The good news: if you know the cause of the symptom, it is possible to provide remedy. If you want to know how long neck pain can last, you can find the information here.

If you do not immediately consult a doctor for the first neck pain, you are probably looking for it on the internet first. The search terms become the symptoms. In the best case, the symptoms lead to solutions. Nevertheless, some symptoms can lead to the important information that a medical clarification of the cause is absolutely necessary.

So if you’re informing yourself on this website about neck pain, you’re searching for your symptoms. This way we want answers to our questions of the cause; we want to know whether a serious basic disease is present. Of course the search for suitable measures plays a major role for the research as well.

A brief look at the connections help to get a better understanding of the type of symptoms and the appropriate forms of therapy as well as the need for prevention.

The area around the cervical spine in particular is a needle eye through which vital information (nerves) are transmitted from the central (brain) to the periphery and back. Food and oxygen enter the brain through the blood vessels in this region. The seven cervical vertebrae are comparatively small and the spinal canal for the spinal cord very spacious. Smallest vertebral joints provide support and movement in all directions. This suggests that harmless neck tension are able to cause more severe damage.

The best approach would be to be active before the first symptoms are noticeable already. Inconvenient but effective; that’s how the prevention usually works. Meaning, to leave the comfort zone and taking responsibility for yourself. The saying „it’s never too late to start“ is very accurate in this case. Even if there are already symptoms showing, it is recommended to work on the prevention in parallel to the therapy.

If the neck pain lasts more than three weeks and you can not relieve the symptoms despite common measures such as heat, massage and exercise, a doctor’s visit is advisable. Prolonged posture can lead to further tension and pain. A serious illness could cause the pain and/or the persistent pain engraves itself into the memory of pain.

Artikel zuletzt aktualisiert am 9. April 2018 von
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