What other symptoms might occur with a stiff neck?

A stiff neck may occur by itself or it may be accompanied by other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying cause, your medical history, and other factors. Additional symptoms that may occur with a stiff neck include:

  • Difficulty turning your head

  • Headache

  • Irritability

  • Pain down your shoulders or arms

  • Sleep disturbances

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, neck stiffness or pain may occur with other symptoms that might indicate a serious or life-threatening condition, such as meningitis, heart attack, or spinal trauma, which should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have a stiff neck or neck discomfort with any of these symptoms:

  • Chest pain, tightness or pressure

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Flu-like symptoms (fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, cough, aches and pains)

  • Jaw pain

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Neck stiffness that prevents you from touching your chin to your chest

  • Numbness or change in sensation

  • Paralysis or difficulty moving any area of your body

  • Rash


What is a stiff neck?

A stiff neck is pain, soreness or discomfort in the neck, which is often most noticeable with neck movement. If you have a stiff neck, you may find that you need to turn your entire body in order to look to the side or behind you because of the discomfort. A stiff neck is a common condition, and most people will experience it at some point in their lives.... Read more about stiff neckintroduction


What causes a stiff neck?

A stiff neck may be caused by conditions that originate in the neck itself, or by diseases and conditions of related areas, such as the shoulders, jaw, head, or upper arms. A stiff neck is often caused by factors that cause a strain of the neck or shoulder muscles, such as sleeping in awkward positions, poor posture, or strenuous activities.... Read more about stiff neckcauses

Medical Reviewer: McDonough, Brian, MD Last Annual Review Date: May 12, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles

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