The spine consists of 33 vertebrae that protect the spinal cord and provide stability to the torso. The first seven vertebrae comprise the cervical spine. Surrounding these vertebrae are muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, and nerves. In addition, intervertebral discs between the vertebrae act as shock absorbers for the spine.
The most common cause of neck pain is due to a muscle strain or other soft tissue sprain of the neck structures. These types of injuries can result from a car accident or from straining of the neck, such as from sleeping in the wrong position or from carrying a heavy suitcase.
If you have neck pain that lasts longer than a few days or is associated with numbness or tingling in the arms, you should see a physician for a proper diagnosis.