How Do I Know if My Neck Pain Is Serious?

At some point in life, almost everyone has woken up with a sore neck or felt pain in their neck due to stress or exercise. Neck pain is a common medical complaint, but when does it become a serious health concern? 

Many cases of neck pain are due to minor strain, but others are due to significant medical issues. Four signs could signal that your neck pain is more serious than you thought.


The first indicator that your neck pain is serious is if the pain has intensified over time. Neck pain that gets worse can signify severe issues in the cervical spine, whether it be a slipped disc or compressed nerve. 

This is especially true if the pain gets worse rapidly and does not respond to any at-home intervention, including over-the-counter medications, massage treatments, or hot and cold compresses.


Another indication that your neck pain may be serious is if it has persisted for a long time. Neck pain that lasts more than three weeks without an identified or diagnosed cause should be investigated by a spinal doctor or orthopedic specialist. This pain can be a symptom of spinal tumors, slipped discs, nerve compression, and more.

Surrounding Pain

When evaluating your own neck pain, you should also consider whether you are experiencing pain anywhere else. Does your neck pain radiate to your shoulders, back, or down the arms? Radiating pain can indicate a compressed nerve due to disc degeneration or other cervical spine issues.

Accompanying Symptoms

One of the biggest indicators that your neck pain is something serious is the presence of other symptoms. If you notice certain issues accompanying your neck pain, it could be indicative of anything from a spinal tumor to cervical instability. Some symptoms to look out for include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vertigo
  • Visual disturbances
  • Heart palpitations
  • Loss of balance

While these symptoms could always be caused by other health issues, they should be evaluated when they occur alongside neck pain. An orthopedist, neurologist, or spinal doctor will order a series of diagnostic tests to determine what is causing the symptoms. These tests may include a cervical MRI, spinal X-ray, and more.

Treating Neck Pain

Are you suffering from neck pain that has persisted for several weeks or grown more severe in intensity? These signs can indicate that your neck pain is being caused by something more serious than your average wear-and-tear. The only way to find the source of your neck pain is by getting an evaluation from a medical professional. 

Once the cause of your neck pain is determined, your medical team can develop a unique treatment plan to meet your needs. Treating neck pain can include everything from regenerative therapies to surgical intervention.

This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.