Neck pain (in the cervical spine) is less common than lower back pain (in the lumbar spine), but there are still millions of people experiencing neck pain. Most episodes of neck pain will get better with time and can be often addressed with non-surgical or conservative treatments. Nevertheless, there are few symptoms that may indicate more serious medical conditions that may require immediate medical attention.

Types of neck pain:

  • Stiff Neck
  • Acute Neck Pain
  • Whiplash

The most common causes of a stiff neck include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Muscle strain or sprain located at the back and side of the neck from sleep positions that strains the neck, from activities that involve repeated turning of the head (swimming), holding the neck in an abnormal position for a long period of time, sports injuries, poor postures, excessive stress that leads to straining of the neck, and poor posture.
  • Infections such as the meningococcal disease can cause stiff neck symptoms accompanied by fever, sleepiness, headache and nausea. Some bacterial infection causes inflammation of the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord. It is advisable to seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing these symptoms.
  • Cervical spine disorders may lead neck stiffness as a result of an underlying disorder in the cervical spine (cervical herniated disc or cervical osteoarthritis). Any problem in any area of the spine can lead to muscle spasm and/or stiffness because structures and nerve pathways in the cervical spine are all interconnected.

Before Burak Ozgur, MD can diagnose if your neck pain is short-term issue or a symptom of a more serious problem. A diagnosis is based on a medical history and a physical examination, as well as the symptoms and the circumstances where the pain started.


It is advisable to seek medical attention if the stiff neck symptoms do not subside after one week. Immediate medical attention is recommended if neck stiffness occurs after a traumatic injury, or if there are additional more serious symptoms, such as a high fever or headache. Most cases of stiff neck may be treated within a few days.

We Can Help

Burak Ozgur, MD, your neck pain surgeon in southern California, can address your scoliosis with minimally invasive, outpatient surgical procedures that are designed to help you find relief from pain. Learn more about our minimally invasive procedures or request an appointment for consultation by calling (949) 383-4190 or toll free 888-64-SPINE or Contact Us ➲.