Jump up ^ Jansen MJ, Viechtbauer W, Lenssen AF, Hendriks EJ, de Bie RA (2011). "Strength training alone, exercise therapy alone, and exercise therapy with passive manual mobilisation each reduce pain and disability in people with knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review". J Physiother. 57 (1): 11–20. doi:10.1016/S1836-9553(11)70002-9. PMID 21402325.

The cervical spine is also surrounded by a thick, tangled web of nerves. In general, those nerves are amazingly difficult to irritate, much harder than people think, but it’s not impossible. Many sharp and shooting neck pains are probably caused by minor neuropathy (pain from nerve irritation) that will ease gradually over several days or a few weeks at the worst, like a bruise healing. It’s unpleasant, but not actually scary, like banging your funny bone (ulnar nerve): that thing can really take a licking and keep on ticking. So can the nerves in your neck.


The nerve roots stem from the spinal cord like tree branches through foramen in the vertebrae. Each nerve root transmits signals (nerve impulses) to and from the brain, shoulders, arms, and chest. A vascular system of 4 arteries and veins run through the neck to circulate blood between the brain and the heart. Joints, muscles, and ligaments facilitate movement and serve to stabilize the structure.
Jump up ^ Lewis RA, Williams NH, Sutton AJ, Burton K, Din NU, Matar HE, Hendry M, Phillips CJ, Nafees S, Fitzsimmons D, Rickard I, Wilkinson C (2013). "Comparative clinical effectiveness of management strategies for sciatica: systematic review and network meta-analyses". Spine Journal. 15 (6): 1461–77. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2013.08.049. PMID 24412033.
Research suggests that not just sleep position, but sleep itself, can play a role in musculoskeletal pain, including neck and shoulder pain. In one study, researchers compared musculoskeletal pain in 4,140 healthy men and women with and without sleeping problems. Sleeping problems included difficulty falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, waking early in the mornings, and non-restorative sleep. They found that people who reported moderate to severe problems in at least three of these four categories were significantly more likely to develop chronic musculoskeletal pain after one year than those who reported little or no problem with sleep. One possible explanation is that sleep disturbances disrupt the muscle relaxation and healing that normally occur during sleep. Additionally, it is well established that pain can disrupt sleep, contributing to a vicious cycle of pain disrupting sleep, and sleep problems contributing to pain.
Hi Jacqueline — We are so sorry to hear about this. You can find a doctor here: https://paindoctor.com/get-relief-now/, or if there’s not one in your area in that directory, figure out how to find the best one in your area by using the suggestions in this list. Further, one of the worst parts about chronic pain is not having anyone around who truly understands what you face on a day-to-day basis. We highly recommend finding a local or online support group so you can talk to other patients who understand what a life with chronic pain is like. You can find online ones here: https://paindoctor.com/chronic-pain-support-groups.
I finally met the chiropractor! We started out by talking a little about the reason for my visit, and what my goals were. Next, he performed a Selective Functional Movement Assessment, which basically helps the chiropractor find the root and cause of any symptoms—they do this by breaking down dysfunctional patterns logically rather than simply finding the obvious source of the pain.
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