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Why do I have muscle pain in the front of my neck?

Neck Pain
3 minutes, 55 seconds

If you have pain around the front of your neck, you may think it’s caused by a sore throat. However, if your pain isn’t accompanied by any other symptoms of a sore throat and instead feels connected to the movement of your neck, you may have a musculoskeletal injury.

This kind of injury refers to damaged muscles, bones, ligaments or tendons. Neck pain at the front of your neck, specifically around the muscles, may be linked to a muscle strain. If you injured the front of your neck, you may also experience: 

  • Limited mobility.
  • Stiffness.
  • Tenderness around or on a muscle.
  • Swelling.

Thankfully, physical therapy can help you manage your symptoms so that you can rotate and bend your head with minimal pain. In fact, studies have shown that therapeutic exercises significantly decrease the severity of neck pain.

4 reasons you may have front neck muscle pain

Neck pain is the fourth-largest physical complaint among people around the world. This is partly because the neck is an intricate and complicated body part that supports both the weight of the head and the alignment of the shoulders. In fact, there are hundreds of muscles, tendons, nerves, and ligaments in your neck that are vulnerable to injuries and conditions that can cause pain.

If you have pain in the front of your neck that feels like it could be located in your muscles, you may have a:

  1. Strain — A strain occurs when you have stretched or torn a muscle. This can happen in your neck for a few different reasons, such as from repetitive stress (which often occurs at work) or traumatic injury. For example, if you constantly sit or stand with your head hunched forward, you are placing unnecessary weight on the muscles in your neck. Doing so can lead to small yet painful muscle tears over time.
  2. Tendinitis — While tendinitis can commonly occur in your shoulders, knees and elbows, it can also occur in your neck. You can develop tendinitis when your tendons become inflamed after overuse, trauma or repetitive stress. Repetitive physical activities that involve your neck muscles or shoulders can irritate a tendon in your neck and cause pain. Swelling and tightness are hallmark symptoms of tendinitis.
  3. Whiplash — Whiplash occurs when a force causes your head to rapidly move forward and snap back, injuring the ligaments, muscles and tendons in your neck. Collectively, these injuries are known as whiplash. It is commonly associated with automobile accidents in which your head thrusts forward while the rest of your body stops with the motion of the vehicle. Whiplash can make the front of your neck feel sore and tender.
  4. Cramps or spasms — The front of your neck can also become painful due to cramps and spasms. Cramps refer to the spontaneous tightening of one or more of your muscles. While you may experience muscle spasms most often in your legs, they can occur in any muscle in your body. You can experience neck cramps after carrying heavy objects, holding your neck in an unnatural position for a long period of time, or being exposed to extreme heat. When a neck muscle suddenly contracts, it can make the front of your neck hurt.

What can I do about my front of the neck muscle pain?

Your neck pain doesn’t have to be something you live with. Instead, there are many treatments and solutions you can try to relieve your discomfort. Those solutions can include: 

  • Stretches — Stretches can activate your muscles and increase blood flow to your tissue. To help relieve your pain in the front of your neck, you can stretch your neck every day. Stretching your neck forward, backward, and side to side can release tight muscles in the front of your neck as well as the tissue around it.
  • Hot and cold treatment — If your pain is intense and you notice swelling, ice treatments can help limit inflammation and pain. Meanwhile, heat can help promote blood flow to your injury and encourage it to heal.
  • Physical therapy — Physical therapists can introduce you to targeted exercises that can address the front of your neck and the muscles around them. Physical therapists also have access to a variety of technologies and techniques, like dry needling, that can help ease your neck pain in a few sessions. 

Alliance PTP can connect you with top-notch PT to treat your front neck muscle pain

Front neck muscle pain can be frustrating. Thankfully, physical therapy can help ease your symptoms. At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you address your neck pain.

Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform. 

Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective physical therapy services for your neck.

*Note: This article is a revision of one originally posted by Alliance Physical Therapy partner Continuum Wellness.


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