Sudden pain from neck area to head. Feels like spasms. Hurts from neck up

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5 Answers

These messages are for mutual support and information sharing only. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.
I had similar experience once when I was working. Becasue I had to work the next day, I just searched possible reasons on the Internet. I have considered causes like poor posture and repetitive motion before the computer because my job involves a lot of typing work. My neck did't ache afterwards. But to rule out severe conditions like arthritis, infection and tumors, I went to my doctor in that weekend. Guess what? I injured my neck when doing Yoga! Luckily, the injury was not serious, and the doctor prescribed me some plasters and told me to have some rest.

I'm not sure what's the exact cause of your condition. Try to go to your doctor. I think it's not a big problem.
In the past few days, i have felt shooting pain in my neck and the back of my head. So i think maybe i can share some useful info with you. I woke up a few days ago and the pain started to come at intervals. I couldn't bear it so i went to the doctor. I was so relieved when the doctor told me it was just a stiff neck. The doctor said that i have been working in front of the computer, maintain the same postion for too long time and i probably slept with a very bad posture. I went home directly afterwards. The doctor said if it is very painful, i can take some ibuprofen. I took one pill the other day. Then the pain eased a lot so i stopped taking it. Hope you can feel better soon!
Many things can cause your neck to hurt, such as poor posture, bad sleep habits, sports injuries, infections, tumors, arthritis, repetitive motion and so on. Maybe you can try to think it over whether the condition is likely caused by these factors. For example, whether you have experienced any injury recently or whether you have a good sleep habit. By ruling out some factors, you may find out what exactly lead to the pain.
Don't worry about too much if you can't do this. You can ask your doctor for help.

Neck pain is a common complaint. Neck muscles can be strained from poor posture — whether it's leaning over your computer or hunching over your workbench. Osteoarthritis also is a common cause of neck pain.

Rarely, neck pain can be a symptom of a more serious problem. Seek medical care if your neck pain is accompanied by numbness or loss of strength in your arms or hands or if you have shooting pain in your shoulder or down your arm.

Causes of neck pain include:

  • Muscle strains. Overuse of muscles, such as too many hours hunched over your computer or smartphone, often triggers muscle strains. Even minor things, such as reading in bed or gritting your teeth, can strain neck muscles.
  • Worn joints. Just like the other joints in your body, your neck joints tend to wear down with age. Osteoarthritis causes the cushions (cartilage) between your bones (vertebrae) to deteriorate. Your body then forms bone spurs that affect joint motion and cause pain.
  • Nerve compression. Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your neck can press on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.
  • Injuries. Rear-end auto collisions often result in whiplash injury, which occurs when the head is jerked backward and then forward, straining the soft tissues of the neck.
  • Certain Diseases. Certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer, can cause neck pain.

Arthritis or injury to the neck can result in a pinched nerve, and the pain may extend down the arm and there may be numbness or tingling sensations in the arm or hand. This pain is only on one side and neck stiffness is not prominent. 

Also, neck pain in the morning may be due to poor sleeping habits. In this case, you should:

  • sleep on a firm surface; a firm mattress is best. 
  • stop using a pillows. 
  • apply heat. Warmth may be of benefit in relieving spasm and pain. Heat may be applied with hot showers, hot compresses or a heating pad. Heat may be used as often as practical. 
  • take medicines. Aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen will help relieve pain and inflammation.
  • wrap a towel around your neck. An ordinary bath towel, wrapped around the neck at bedtime, may alleviate some neck pain caused by poor sleeping habits.

Neck pain, like back pain is slow to improve and may take several weeks to completely resolve. If pain doesn't lessen in a week, you need call the doctor.