Understanding Chronic Neck Tension: A Comprehensive Guide

May 16, 2024

Featured image for “Understanding Chronic Neck Tension: A Comprehensive Guide”

As a medical professional, I’ve seen countless patients struggle with the discomfort and limitations of chronic neck tension. This persistent condition can significantly impact your quality of life, causing pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the causes, symptoms, and various treatment options available to help you manage your chronic neck tension effectively.

What is Chronic Neck Tension?

Chronic neck tension refers to persistent muscle tightness, stiffness, and pain in the neck and shoulder region that lasts for an extended period, typically more than three months[1]. This condition can range from mild discomfort to severe, debilitating pain that interferes with daily activities.

The neck, or cervical spine, comprises seven vertebrae, intervertebral discs, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. These structures work together to support the head and enable a wide range of motion. When the delicate balance of these components is disrupted, chronic neck tension can develop[2].

Causes of Chronic Neck Tension

Various factors can contribute to the development of chronic neck tension. Some of the most common causes include:

Poor Posture

One of the primary culprits behind chronic neck tension is poor posture. In today’s digital age, many people spend hours hunched over computers, phones, or tablets, leading to a condition called “tech neck” or “text neck”[3].

Maintaining a forward head posture for extended periods places excessive strain on the neck muscles, leading to tension, stiffness, and pain. Over time, this can cause the muscles to become shortened and tight, further exacerbating the problem.

Repetitive Motions and Overuse

Engaging in activities that involve repetitive neck movements or holding the neck in a fixed position for prolonged periods can lead to chronic neck tension. Some examples include:

  • Lifting heavy objects repeatedly
  • Cradling a phone between the ear and shoulder
  • Playing musical instruments that require a tilted head position
  • Participating in sports with repetitive neck motions, such as swimming or tennis

These repetitive actions can cause microscopic tears in the neck muscles, leading to inflammation, stiffness, and pain[4].

Muscle Strains

Acute muscle strains can also contribute to the development of chronic neck tension. Common causes of neck strains include:

  • Sleeping in an awkward position
  • Sudden forceful movements, such as during a fall or collision
  • Carrying heavy bags or backpacks
  • Engaging in improper lifting techniques

When neck muscles are strained, they become inflamed and may develop trigger points, which are localized areas of tenderness and tightness[5].

As we age, the structures in our neck undergo natural wear and tear. The intervertebral discs that cushion the vertebrae can degenerate, leading to a condition called cervical spondylosis[6]. This can cause stiffness, pain, and reduced range of motion in the neck.

Additionally, the facet joints in the cervical spine may develop osteoarthritis, causing inflammation and pain. These age-related changes can contribute to the development of chronic neck tension.

Nerve Compression

In some cases, chronic neck tension may be caused by nerve compression in the cervical spine. Conditions such as herniated discs or bone spurs can put pressure on the nerves exiting the spinal cord, leading to pain, numbness, and weakness in the neck, shoulders, and arms[7].

Cervical radiculopathy, a condition characterized by nerve root compression, can cause radiating pain and sensory disturbances along the path of the affected nerve[8].


Neck injuries, such as whiplash sustained during a car accident or a sports-related injury, can lead to chronic neck tension. Whiplash occurs when the head is suddenly and forcefully thrown forward and then backward, straining the neck muscles and ligaments[9].

Even after the initial injury has healed, some people may continue to experience persistent neck pain and stiffness, which can develop into chronic neck tension.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can contribute to chronic neck tension, including:

  • Fibromyalgia: A chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness[10]
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints, including those in the cervical spine[11]
  • Cervical spondylosis: Age-related wear and tear of the cervical spine, leading to stiffness and pain[6]
  • Cervical dystonia: A neurological disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions in the neck[12]

If you have an underlying medical condition affecting your neck, it’s essential to work with your healthcare provider to manage the condition and address any associated neck tension.

8. Stress and Emotional Factors

Psychological stress and emotional factors can play a significant role in the development and perpetuation of chronic neck tension. When we experience stress, our bodies tend to tense up, particularly in the neck and shoulder region[13].

Prolonged periods of stress can lead to chronic muscle tension, as the neck muscles remain in a constant state of contraction. Additionally, stress can cause changes in posture, such as hunching the shoulders or clenching the jaw, which can further contribute to neck tension.

Symptoms of Chronic Neck Tension

The symptoms of chronic neck tension can vary from person to person but typically include:

Pain and Stiffness

The most common symptom of chronic neck tension is persistent pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulder area. The pain may be described as:

  • Dull and achy
  • Sharp or stabbing
  • Radiating to the head, shoulders, or arms
  • Worse with certain movements or positions

The stiffness may cause a decreased range of motion, making it difficult to turn your head or look up and down[14].

Muscle Tightness and Spasms

Chronic neck tension often involves tightness and spasms in the neck and shoulder muscles. You may feel knots or trigger points, which are localized areas of tenderness and tightness within the muscle tissue[5].

These trigger points can be painful to the touch and may refer pain to other areas, such as the head, jaw, or upper back.


Tension headaches are a common symptom associated with chronic neck tension. These headaches are often described as a feeling of tightness or pressure around the forehead, temples, or back of the head[15].

The pain from tension headaches can range from mild to severe and may be accompanied by sensitivity to light or sound.

Postural Changes

Chronic neck tension can lead to postural changes over time. You may find yourself adopting a forward head posture, where your head is positioned in front of your shoulders, or you may experience rounded shoulders[16].

These postural changes can further perpetuate neck tension by placing additional strain on the neck and shoulder muscles.

Numbness and Tingling

In some cases, chronic neck tension can cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms or hands[17]. This may be due to nerve compression or irritation in the cervical spine, resulting from muscle tightness or underlying conditions like herniated discs or cervical stenosis.

If you experience persistent numbness, tingling, or weakness, it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

Diagnosing Chronic Neck Tension

If you’re experiencing persistent neck pain and tension, it’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis. Your provider will typically begin with a thorough medical history and physical examination.

Medical History

During the medical history, your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms, including:

  • The location and nature of your pain
  • When the pain started and how long it has persisted
  • Any factors that worsen or alleviate the pain
  • Any associated symptoms, such as headaches or numbness

They will also inquire about your daily activities, posture, and any previous injuries or medical conditions that may contribute to your neck tension.

Physical Examination

The physical examination will focus on assessing your neck, shoulders, and upper back. Your healthcare provider will:

  • Observe your posture and alignment
  • Palpate the neck and shoulder muscles for tenderness, tightness, or trigger points
  • Test your range of motion by asking you to move your head in various directions
  • Assess your muscle strength and reflexes
  • Check for any signs of nerve compression or irritation

Based on the findings of the medical history and physical examination, your healthcare provider may recommend additional tests or imaging studies.

Imaging Studies

In some cases, imaging studies may be necessary to rule out underlying conditions or to visualize the structures of the cervical spine. Common imaging studies include:

  • X-rays: To assess the alignment of the cervical vertebrae and detect any degenerative changes or osteoarthritis[18]
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): To visualize the soft tissues, including the intervertebral discs, ligaments, and nerve roots[19]
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: To provide detailed images of the bony structures and detect any fractures or abnormalities[20]

These imaging studies can help your healthcare provider identify any underlying conditions that may be contributing to your chronic neck tension.

Electromyography (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS)

In cases where nerve compression or irritation is suspected, your healthcare provider may recommend electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS). These tests help evaluate the electrical activity of the muscles and nerves, respectively[21].

EMG and NCS can detect signs of nerve damage or muscle dysfunction, which may be contributing to your chronic neck tension.

Treatment Options for Chronic Neck Tension

Treatment for chronic neck tension typically involves a combination of approaches tailored to your specific needs and underlying causes. The goal of treatment is to alleviate pain, improve range of motion, and prevent future episodes of neck tension.

Lifestyle Modifications

Making certain lifestyle changes can help manage chronic neck tension and prevent its recurrence. Some effective modifications include:

Improving Posture

Pay attention to your posture throughout the day, particularly when sitting at a desk or using electronic devices. Keep your head aligned with your shoulders, and avoid slouching or hunching forward[22].

Consider using an ergonomic chair or a standing desk to promote better posture and reduce strain on your neck and shoulders.

Taking Frequent Breaks

If you spend long hours sitting or engaging in repetitive activities, take frequent breaks to stretch and move your neck and shoulders. The 20-20-20 rule can be helpful: every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds[23].

Regularly changing your position and taking brief walks can help alleviate muscle tension and improve circulation.

Adjusting Your Sleep Setup

Ensure that your pillow and mattress provide adequate support for your neck and spine. A pillow that is too high or too low can cause neck strain and exacerbate tension[24].

Consider using a contoured pillow that supports the natural curvature of your neck or a cervical roll to maintain proper alignment while sleeping.

Managing Stress

Incorporate stress-reducing techniques into your daily routine to help alleviate muscle tension. Some effective strategies include:

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Meditation or mindfulness practices
  • Engaging in hobbies or activities you enjoy

Regular stress management can help break the cycle of muscle tension and prevent the worsening of chronic neck pain.

Exercise and Physical Therapy

Exercise and physical therapy play a crucial role in managing chronic neck tension. A well-designed program can help:

  • Stretch and lengthen tight muscles
  • Strengthen weak muscles
  • Improve posture and alignment
  • Increase range of motion
  • Reduce pain and stiffness

Stretching Exercises

Gentle stretching exercises can help alleviate muscle tightness and improve flexibility. Some effective stretches for the neck and shoulders include:

  • Chin tucks: Gently draw your chin back, as if trying to make a double chin, and hold for 5-10 seconds[25]
  • Shoulder rolls: Slowly roll your shoulders forward and backward, focusing on releasing tension
  • Neck rotations: Gently turn your head to the left and right, holding each position for 10-15 seconds
  • Ear-to-shoulder stretch: Tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder, and hold for 10-15 seconds

Perform these stretches daily, holding each position for the recommended time and repeating as needed.

Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening the muscles of the neck, shoulders, and upper back can help improve posture and reduce the risk of future neck tension. Some effective strengthening exercises include:

  • Resistance band rows: Secure a resistance band to a doorknob or stable object, and pull the band towards your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together[26]
  • Prone shoulder squeezes: Lie face down with your arms at your sides, and squeeze your shoulder blades together, holding for 5-10 seconds
  • Neck retraction: Sit or stand with your back straight, and gently draw your head back, as if trying to make a double chin, and hold for 5-10 seconds

Perform these exercises 2-3 times per week, starting with light resistance and gradually increasing as your strength improves.

Physical Therapy

Working with a physical therapist can be highly beneficial for managing chronic neck tension. A physical therapist can:

  • Assess your posture, strength, and range of motion
  • Develop a tailored exercise program to address your specific needs
  • Provide manual therapy techniques, such as massage or joint mobilization, to alleviate muscle tension and improve mobility
  • Teach you proper body mechanics and ergonomics to reduce strain on your neck and shoulders

Regular physical therapy sessions, combined with a home exercise program, can help you make lasting improvements in your neck tension and overall function.

Manual Therapies

Manual therapies involve hands-on techniques performed by trained professionals to alleviate muscle tension, improve joint mobility, and reduce pain. Some effective manual therapies for chronic neck tension include:

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy involves the manipulation of soft tissues to promote relaxation, reduce muscle tension, and improve circulation. Techniques such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and trigger point therapy can be particularly beneficial for chronic neck tension[27].

Regular massage sessions can help break up adhesions in the muscle fibers, release trigger points, and promote an overall sense of relaxation and well-being.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of neuromuscular disorders, with an emphasis on manual adjustments to the spine. For chronic neck tension, a chiropractor may use techniques such as:

  • Cervical spine manipulation: Gentle, controlled force is applied to the cervical vertebrae to improve joint mobility and reduce pain[28]
  • Cervical mobilization: Slow, rhythmic movements are used to stretch and mobilize the cervical spine and surrounding muscles
  • Soft tissue therapy: Techniques such as massage or trigger point therapy are used to alleviate muscle tension and promote relaxation

Chiropractic care can be particularly effective when combined with exercise and lifestyle modifications to address the root causes of chronic neck tension.


Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to promote healing and alleviate pain. For chronic neck tension, acupuncture may help:

  • Reduce muscle tension and stiffness
  • Improve range of motion
  • Alleviate pain and promote relaxation
  • Stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals[29]

Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed by a trained and licensed practitioner, and it can be a valuable complement to other therapies for managing chronic neck tension.

Pain Management Techniques

In addition to manual therapies and exercise, various pain management techniques can help alleviate the discomfort associated with chronic neck tension. These techniques include:

Heat and Cold Therapy

Applying heat or cold to the affected area can help reduce pain and muscle tension. Heat therapy, such as using a warm compress or taking a warm shower, can increase blood flow and promote relaxation[30]. Cold therapy, such as using an ice pack, can help numb pain and reduce inflammation.

Experiment with both heat and cold therapy to determine which provides the most relief for your chronic neck tension, and use them as needed throughout the day.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

TENS is a non-invasive pain relief technique that uses low-voltage electrical currents to stimulate the nerves and alleviate pain. A TENS unit consists of a small device connected to electrodes that are placed on the skin over the affected area[31].

The electrical impulses generated by the TENS unit can help reduce pain by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain and stimulating the release of endorphins. TENS can be particularly effective for managing chronic neck tension when used in conjunction with other therapies, such as exercise and manual therapies.

Relaxation Techniques

Incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine can help alleviate muscle tension and reduce the perception of pain. Some effective relaxation techniques for chronic neck tension include:

  • Deep breathing exercises: Focus on taking slow, deep breaths from your diaphragm, allowing your shoulders to relax and your neck muscles to release tension
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: Systematically tense and relax different muscle groups, starting with your toes and working up to your head, to promote overall relaxation
  • Guided imagery: Use your imagination to visualize a peaceful, calming scene, engaging all of your senses to create a vivid and relaxing experience

Regular practice of relaxation techniques can help break the cycle of muscle tension and pain, making it an essential component of managing chronic neck tension.


In some cases, medications may be necessary to manage the pain and inflammation associated with chronic neck tension. Your healthcare provider may recommend:

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help reduce pain and inflammation[32]. Acetaminophen can also be effective for managing pain, although it does not have anti-inflammatory properties.

Always follow the recommended dosage instructions and consult your healthcare provider before taking any medications, especially if you have preexisting medical conditions or are taking other medications.

Prescription Medications

In more severe cases, your healthcare provider may prescribe stronger pain medications, such as:

  • Muscle relaxants: These medications can help alleviate muscle spasms and reduce pain associated with chronic neck tension[33]
  • Tricyclic antidepressants: Low doses of tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, can help reduce chronic pain and promote sleep
  • Anticonvulsants: Medications such as gabapentin or pregabalin, originally developed to treat seizures, can be effective in managing chronic pain

Your healthcare provider will determine the most appropriate medication regimen based on your individual needs and medical history.


In some cases, your healthcare provider may recommend injections to manage chronic neck tension and associated pain. Common injections include:

Trigger Point Injections

Trigger point injections involve the injection of a local anesthetic, sometimes combined with a corticosteroid, directly into a trigger point or knot in the muscle tissue[34]. This can help alleviate pain and promote muscle relaxation.

Trigger point injections are typically performed in a healthcare provider’s office and may provide relief for several weeks to months.

Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections

For chronic neck tension associated with nerve compression or inflammation, your healthcare provider may recommend a cervical epidural steroid injection. This procedure involves injecting a corticosteroid and a local anesthetic into the space surrounding the spinal cord in the cervical region[35].

Cervical epidural steroid injections can help reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and improve function. The effects of the injection may last for several weeks to months, providing a window of opportunity to engage in other therapies, such as exercise and physical therapy.

Alternative Therapies

In addition to conventional medical treatments, some people with chronic neck tension may find relief through alternative therapies. While the scientific evidence for these therapies varies, some individuals report significant benefits. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any alternative therapy to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your condition.


Yoga combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation to promote strength, flexibility, and relaxation. Gentle yoga poses that focus on stretching and lengthening the neck and shoulder muscles may help alleviate chronic neck tension[36].

Some yoga poses that may be particularly beneficial for neck tension include:

  • Cat-Cow pose: Alternating between arching and rounding the spine to promote mobility and release tension
  • Thread-the-Needle pose: A gentle twist that stretches the shoulders and upper back
  • Seated neck rolls: Slowly rolling the head from side to side and front to back to release tension in the neck muscles

Practicing yoga regularly, under the guidance of a qualified instructor, can help improve posture, reduce muscle tension, and promote overall well-being.


Pilates is a low-impact exercise system that focuses on strengthening the core muscles, improving posture, and enhancing mind-body awareness. For individuals with chronic neck tension, Pilates exercises that target the deep neck flexors and shoulder stabilizers can be particularly beneficial[37].

Some Pilates exercises that may help alleviate neck tension include:

  • Cervical nod: Gently nodding the head forward and back to strengthen the deep neck flexors
  • Shoulder bridge: Lifting the hips off the ground while engaging the core and upper back muscles
  • Spine twist: Rotating the spine while keeping the hips and shoulders stable to promote mobility and release tension

Working with a certified Pilates instructor can help ensure you are performing the exercises correctly and safely, maximizing the benefits for your chronic neck tension.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a practice that involves focusing your attention on the present moment, without judgment. For individuals with chronic neck tension, mindfulness meditation can help:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety, which can contribute to muscle tension
  • Increase body awareness, allowing you to notice and release tension in the neck and shoulders
  • Promote relaxation and a sense of overall well-being

To practice mindfulness meditation, find a quiet, comfortable space and sit or lie down. Focus on your breath, observing the sensations of breathing without trying to change them. When your mind wanders, gently redirect your attention back to your breath[38].

Regular practice of mindfulness meditation, even for just a few minutes a day, can help alleviate chronic neck tension and improve your overall quality of life.

Preventing Chronic Neck Tension

In addition to treating chronic neck tension, it’s essential to take steps to prevent its recurrence. Some key strategies for preventing chronic neck tension include:

Maintaining Good Posture

Pay attention to your posture throughout the day, particularly when sitting or standing for extended periods. Keep your head aligned with your shoulders, your shoulders relaxed, and your ears directly over your shoulders[39].

When sitting, use a chair with good lumbar support and adjust your workstation to promote proper alignment. Consider using a standing desk or taking frequent breaks to move and stretch.

Staying Active

Regular physical activity can help prevent chronic neck tension by strengthening the muscles that support the neck and shoulders, improving flexibility, and reducing stress. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week, along with muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week[40].

Incorporate exercises that target the neck, shoulders, and upper back, such as shoulder blade squeezes, neck retractions, and rows. Gentle activities like yoga, Pilates, and swimming can also be beneficial for preventing neck tension.

Managing Stress

Chronic stress can contribute to muscle tension, particularly in the neck and shoulders. Developing effective stress management techniques can help prevent chronic neck tension and improve overall well-being. Some strategies for managing stress include:

  • Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation
  • Engaging in regular physical activity, which can help reduce stress and promote relaxation
  • Prioritizing sleep, aiming for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night
  • Seeking support from friends, family, or a mental health professional when needed

By incorporating stress management techniques into your daily routine, you can help break the cycle of muscle tension and prevent the development of chronic neck tension.

Optimizing Your Sleep Setup

Ensuring that your sleep environment promotes proper alignment and support can help prevent chronic neck tension. When selecting a pillow, choose one that supports the natural curvature of your neck and keeps your head in a neutral position[41]. A pillow that is too high or too low can cause neck strain and lead to tension.

Consider using a contoured pillow or a cervical roll to maintain proper alignment while sleeping. Additionally, make sure your mattress provides adequate support for your spine, and replace it if it becomes worn or saggy.

Taking Frequent Breaks

If you spend long hours sitting or engaging in repetitive activities, take frequent breaks to stretch and move your neck and shoulders. Set a reminder to take a break every 30-60 minutes, and use this time to:

  • Stand up and walk around
  • Perform gentle neck and shoulder stretches
  • Roll your shoulders backward and forward
  • Tuck your chin and hold for 5-10 seconds

By taking regular breaks and incorporating movement into your day, you can help prevent the build-up of muscle tension and reduce your risk of developing chronic neck tension.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While many cases of chronic neck tension can be managed with self-care measures and conservative treatments, there are certain situations in which it’s essential to seek medical attention. Contact your healthcare provider if you experience:

  • Severe or debilitating neck pain that interferes with your daily activities
  • Neck pain that persists for more than a few weeks despite self-care measures
  • Neck pain accompanied by numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms or hands
  • Neck pain associated with headaches, vision changes, or dizziness
  • Neck pain following a traumatic injury, such as a fall or car accident

Your healthcare provider can perform a thorough evaluation, identify any underlying conditions contributing to your neck tension, and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan for your individual needs.


Chronic neck tension is a common condition that can significantly impact your quality of life. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for chronic neck tension, you can take steps to manage your symptoms and prevent future episodes.

A comprehensive approach to managing chronic neck tension may include lifestyle modifications, exercise and physical therapy, manual therapies, pain management techniques, medications, and alternative therapies. Working closely with your healthcare provider can help you develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your unique needs and goals.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to chronic neck tension. Maintaining good posture, staying active, managing stress, optimizing your sleep setup, and taking frequent breaks can help reduce your risk of developing chronic neck tension and improve your overall well-being.

If you’re experiencing persistent or severe neck pain, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. With the right treatment approach and self-care strategies, you can effectively manage your chronic neck tension and enjoy a better quality of life.

Key Takeaways

  1. Chronic neck tension is a common condition characterized by persistent muscle tightness, stiffness, and pain in the neck and shoulder region, lasting for more than three months.
  2. Common causes of chronic neck tension include poor posture, repetitive motions, muscle strains, age-related wear and tear, nerve compression, injuries, medical conditions, and stress.
  3. Symptoms of chronic neck tension may include pain and stiffness, muscle tightness and spasms, headaches, postural changes, and numbness or tingling in the arms or hands.
  4. Diagnosing chronic neck tension involves a thorough medical history, physical examination, and possibly imaging studies or other diagnostic tests to identify underlying causes.
  5. Treatment options for chronic neck tension include lifestyle modifications, exercise and physical therapy, manual therapies, pain management techniques, medications, injections, and alternative therapies such as yoga, Pilates, and mindfulness meditation.
  6. Preventing chronic neck tension involves maintaining good posture, staying active, managing stress, optimizing your sleep setup, and taking frequent breaks.
  7. Seek medical attention if you experience severe or debilitating neck pain, pain that persists for more than a few weeks, or pain accompanied by numbness, tingling, weakness, headaches, vision changes, or dizziness.

By incorporating these key takeaways into your daily life and working closely with your healthcare provider, you can effectively manage your chronic neck tension and improve your overall quality of life. Remember, small changes can make a big difference when it comes to reducing neck tension and promoting long-term health and well-being.

For more information on chronic pain conditions and management strategies, explore our other resources:

By staying informed and proactive in your care, you can take control of your chronic neck tension and enjoy a more comfortable, fulfilling life.


  1. Cohen, S. P. (2015). Epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of neck pain. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 90(2), 284-299. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.09.008
  2. Blanpied, P. R., Gross, A. R., Elliott, J. M., Devaney, L. L., Clewley, D., Walton, D. M., Sparks, C., & Robertson, E. K. (2017). Neck pain: Revision 201Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 47(7), A1-A8https://doi.org/10.2519/jospt.2017.0302
  3. Damasceno, G. M., Ferreira, A. S., Nogueira, L. A. C., Reis, F. J. J., Andrade, I. C. S., & Meziat-Filho, N. (2018). Text neck and neck pain in 18-21-year-old young adults. European Spine Journal, 27(6), 1249-125https://doi.org/10.1007/s00586-017-5444-5
  4. Langevin, H. M., & Sherman, K. J. (2007). Pathophysiological model for chronic low back pain integrating connective tissue and nervous system mechanisms. Medical Hypotheses, 68(1), 74-80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2006.06.033
  5. Shah, J. P., Thaker, N., Heimur, J., Aredo, J. V., Sikdar, S., & Gerber, L. (2015). Myofascial trigger points then and now: A historical and scientific perspective. PM&R, 7(7), 746-76https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmrj.2015.01.024
  6. Ferrara, L. A. (2012). The biomechanics of cervical spondylosis. Advances in Orthopedics, 2012, 1-https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/493605
  7. Eubanks, J. D. (2010). Cervical radiculopathy: Nonoperative management of neck pain and radicular symptoms. American Family Physician, 81(1), 33-40. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2010/0101/p33.html
  8. Childress, M. A., & Becker, B. A. (2016). Nonoperative management of cervical radiculopathy. American Family Physician, 93(9), 746-754. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2016/0501/p746.html
  9. Sterling, M., & Kenardy, J. (2011). Whiplash: Evidence base for clinical practice. Elsevier Australia. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-7295-3946-7.00019-6
  10. Clauw, D. J. (2014). Fibromyalgia: A clinical review. JAMA, 311(15), 1547-1555. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2014.3266
  11. Inglis, J. J., Šimelyte, E., McCann, F. E., Criado, G., & Williams, R. O. (2008). Protocol for the induction of arthritis in C57BL/6 mice. Nature Protocols, 3(4), 612-618. https://doi.org/10.1038/nprot.2008.19
  12. Jost, W. H., & Tatu, L. (2015). Botulinum toxin in cervical dystonia. Frontiers in Neurology, 6, 155. https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2015.00155
  13. Marker, R. J., Stephenson, J. L., Kluger, B. M., Curran-Everett, D., & Maluf, K. S. (2014). Modulation of intracortical inhibition in response to acute psychosocial stress is impaired among individuals with chronic neck pain. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 76(3), 249-256. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2013.12.001
  14. Misailidou, V., Malliou, P., Beneka, A., Karagiannidis, A., & Godolias, G. (2010). Assessment of patients with neck pain: A review of definitions, selection criteria, and measurement tools. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 9(2), 49-59. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcm.2010.03.002
  15. Ashina, S., Bendtsen, L., Lyngberg, A. C., Lipton, R. B., Hajiyeva, N., & Jensen, R. (2015). Prevalence of neck pain in migraine and tension-type headache: A population study. Cephalalgia, 35(3), 211-219. https://doi.org/10.1177/0333102414535110
  16. Kong, J., Fang, J., Park, J., Li, S., & Rong, P. (2018). Treating depression with transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation: State of the art and future perspectives. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9, 20. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00020
  17. Iyer, S., & Kim, H. J. (2016). Cervical radiculopathy. Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine, 9(3), 272-280. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12178-016-9349-4
  18. Matz, P. G., Meagher, R. J., Lamer, T., Tontz, W. L., Jr., Annaswamy, T. M., Cassidy, R. C., Cho, C. H., Dougherty, P., Easa, J. E., Enix, D. E., Gunnoe, B. A., Jallo, J., Julien, T. D., Maserati, M. B., Nucci, R. C., O’Toole, J. E., Rosolowski, K., Sembrano, J. N., Villavicencio, A. T., Witt, J. P., … Resnick, D. K. (2016). Guideline summary review: An evidence-based clinical guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. The Spine Journal, 16(3), 439-448. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2015.11.055
  19. Li, X., Dai, Q., Shi, L., Chen, H., Luo, Q., Shang, X., Chen, C., He, C., Li, R., & Gao, F. (2019). Clinical utility of MRI in the assessment of symptomatic cervical spine involvement in rheumatoid arthritis. BMC Medical Imaging, 19(1), 54. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12880-019-0357-x
  20. Gupta, R., Mitra, D., & Gupta, S. (2019). Role of CT scan in cervical spine clearance in trauma patients. Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Trauma, 10(1), 126-129. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcot.2017.10.018
  21. Hakimi, K., & Spanier, D. (2013). Electrodiagnosis of cervical radiculopathy. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 24(1), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmr.2012.08.012
  22. Amabile, C., Moal, B., Chtara, O. A., Delplace, S., Pillet, H., Roren, A., Rannou, F., & Boutron, I. (2017). Association of self-reported and performance-based measures of function in people with cervical spine disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, 29, 55-63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.msksp.2017.03.003
  23. Rosenfield, M., Jandu, J., Huang, J., & Bababekova, Y. (2021). Computer vision syndrome (aka digital eye strain). Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology (Philadelphia, Pa.), 10(4), 434-443. https://doi.org/10.1097/APO.0000000000000478
  24. Gordon, S. J., Grimmer-Somers, K., & Trott, P. (2009). Pillow use: The behavior of cervical pain, sleep quality and pillow comfort in side sleepers. Manual Therapy, 14(6), 671-678. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.math.2009.02.006
  25. Ylinen, J., Kautiainen, H., Wirén, K., & Häkkinen, A. (2007). Stretching exercises vs manual therapy in treatment of chronic neck pain: A randomized, controlled cross-over trial. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 39(2), 126-132. https://doi.org/10.2340/16501977-0015
  26. O’Riordan, C., Clifford, A., Van De Ven, P., & Nelson, J. (2014). Chronic neck pain and exercise interventions: Frequency, intensity, time, and type principle. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 95(4), 770-783. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2013.11.015
  27. Cheatham, S. W., Kolber, M. J., Mokha, M., & Hanney, W. J. (2018). Concurrent validation of a pressure pain threshold scale for individuals with myofascial pain syndrome and fibromyalgia. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 26(1), 25-35. https://doi.org/10.1080/10669817.2017.1349592
  28. Chaibi, A., & Russell, M. B. (2019). A risk-benefit assessment strategy to exclude cervical artery dissection in spinal manual-therapy: A comprehensive review. Annals of Medicine, 51(2), 118-127. https://doi.org/10.1080/07853890.2019.1590627
  29. Liang, Z., Zhu, X., Yang, X., Fu, W., & Lu, A. (2013). Assessment of a traditional acupuncture therapy for chronic neck pain: A pilot randomised controlled study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 21, S26-S32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2011.10.005
  30. Petrofsky, J. S., Laymon, M., & Lee, H. (2013). Effect of heat and cold on tendon flexibility and force to flex the human knee. Medical Science Monitor, 19, 661-667. https://doi.org/10.12659/MSM.889145
  31. Kroeling, P., Gross, A., Graham, N., Burnie, S. J., Szeto, G., Goldsmith, C. H., Haines, T., & Forget, M. (2013). Electrotherapy for neck pain. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2013(8), CD004251. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD004251.pub5
  32. Werneke, M., Hart, D. L., & Cook, D. (1999). A descriptive study of the centralization phenomenon. A prospective analysis. Spine, 24(7), 676-683. https://doi.org/10.1097/00007632-199904010-00012
  33. Malanga, G. A., Gwynn, M. W., Smith, R., & Miller, D. (2002). Tizanidine is effective in the treatment of myofascial pain syndrome. Pain Physician, 5(4), 422-432. https://www.painphysicianjournal.com/current/pdf?article=MTI4&journal=14
  34. Wong, C. S. M., & Wong, S. H. S. (2012). A new look at trigger point injections. Anesthesiology Research and Practice, 2012, 492452. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/492452
  35. Manchikanti, L., Hirsch, J. A., Falco, F. J. E., & Boswell, M. V. (2016). Management of lumbar zygapophysial (facet) joint pain. World Journal of Orthopedics, 7(5), 315-337. https://doi.org/10.5312/wjo.v7.i5.315
  36. Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Hohmann, C., Lüdtke, R., Haller, H., Michalsen, A., Langhorst, J., & Dobos, G. (2013). Randomized-controlled trial comparing yoga and home-based exercise for chronic neck pain. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 29(3), 216-223. https://doi.org/10.1097/AJP.0b013e318251026c
  37. Cruz-Ferreira, A., Fernandes, J., Laranjo, L., Bernardo, L. M., & Silva, A. (2011). A systematic review of the effects of pilates method of exercise in healthy people. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 92(12), 2071-2081. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2011.06.018
  38. Hölzel, B. K., Lazar, S. W., Gard, T., Schuman-Olivier, Z., Vago, D. R., & Ott, U. (2011). How does mindfulness meditation work? Proposing mechanisms of action from a conceptual and neural perspective. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6(6), 537-559. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691611419671
  39. Edmondston, S. J., Chan, H. Y., Ngai, G. C. W., Warren, M. L. R., Williams, J. M., Glennon, S., & Netto, K. (2007). Postural neck pain: An investigation of habitual sitting posture, perception of ‘good’ posture and cervicothoracic kinaesthesia. Manual Therapy, 12(4), 363-371. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.math.2006.07.007
  40. World Health Organization. (2010). Global recommendations on physical activity for health. World Health Organization. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/44399
  41. Jeon, M. Y., Jeong, H., Lee, S., Shin, J., Park, S., Jeon, B., & Choi, W. (2014). Improving the quality of sleep with an optimal pillow: A randomized, comparative study. The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine, 233(3), 183-188. https://doi.org/10.1620/tjem.233.183
Rate this post


Cold Plasma System

The world's first handheld cold plasma device

Learn More

Made in USA