Neck Pain

Overview of Neck Pain

Neck pain can be caused by a number of different health conditions. Some of the most common are muscle spasms due to tension and stress, or fatigue from unaccustomed activity. Neck pain can also occur after an injury such as a car accident. 

Signs & Symptoms

Pain in the neck and shoulder region, sometimes accompanied by headache.

Signs that you should seek medical attention immediately are:

  • If you have pain and/or numbness radiating down your arms
  • If you have fever, stiff neck and vomiting
  • If you have stiffness in the morning lasting longer than 20 minutes
  • If you have changes in your mental status or visual disturbance 

Prevention & Treatment

  • Lifestyle that emphasizes healthy coping skills for stressful situations
  • Regular whole-body low impact exercise (such as walking or biking)
  • Good ergonomics when sitting, standing or studying 


Most benign neck spasms can be treated with time, rest, gentle stretching, ice and or heat, and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or Tylenol. Physical therapy, massage therapy, or acupuncture can also be helpful. 

How We Can Help

  • If you would like to be seen by our medical staff, please contact our Appointment Desk to schedule an appointment.
  • Also, our Advice Nurse service is available at no charge for all UC Davis students to discuss health concerns and the need for medical care.


Recommended Resources

  • Neck Pain (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
  • Neck Pain (American Academy of Family Physicians)