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Why Do I Have Neck Pain When Yawning?

If you’re tired of experiencing neck pain when yawning, then here’s what to do in order to relieve and ease off the pain.

These sudden sharp stabs of spasms can be quite frustrating, occurring when you least expect.

Most times, it is a mild condition that can be reversed with simple exercises, stretches, and incorporating certain habits.

However, there are cases where you might also develop red flag symptoms. But do not fear, it is usually not a cause for alarm when treated early on.

Why Do I Have Neck Pain When Yawning?

Your body comprises different parts, each more sensitive than the other, especially your neck and legs.

These are the most common spots for a pinched nerve.

When a pinched nerve is mentioned, it means that the nerve has been compressed due to pressure, stretching, or constriction.

This causes pain and discomfort in the affected area that becomes prominent upon movement.

For example, you may feel a slight pain in your neck that is more obvious when you yawn.

Young adults and elderly people are more susceptible to this condition, however, children may also experience it.

Neck pain often occurs along with stiffness and/or soreness, which can be quite uncomfortable most times. In most cases, it will heal on its own.

However, there are also cases where discomfort only intensifies.

There are several factors that can cause neck spasms when yawning, some of which include stress, bad sleeping position, or poor posture.

The main reason you may experience neck pain is involuntary contractions, either from trauma or general overuse and overstrain of your neck muscles.

When these muscles are constantly under stress and pressure, they often tighten and strain, leading to the painful sensations you feel.

When your neck is pinched or compressed, the fluids in it become restricted and do not flow properly.

If left untreated after it does not ease off on its own, it may become a serious issue and even trigger underlying medical health problems.

This can debilitate and restrict your neck movement and your daily routine and affect your functionality.

Causes Of Neck Pain When Yawning

Yawning is a painless process that sometimes signifies hunger or boredom. However, if you experience neck pain while yawning.

Any of these causes may trigger it;


This is also known as a muscle spasm or muscle cramp, a painful and involuntary contraction.

Physical trauma, strain, or wear and tear of the muscles triggers it.

Although it is more prevalent in the legs, it may also occur in other muscles of your body, including your neck.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition that affects your spine.

There is so much pressure on your spine that it narrows.

It is a painful experience that can make every movement painful, including yawning.

Cervical Disk Disease

Your neck comprises 7 vertebrae separated by cushioned discs that make it possible for you to move and rotate your head and also yawn.

Sometimes, the disc may degenerate and cause stiffness along with neck pain when yawning.

In most cases, discomfort is a sharp and immediate effect that dissipates after you stop yawning.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

The temporomandibular joint disorder is a dysfunction of the temporal or jaw joints and muscles.

It is mostly accompanied by a limited range of motion, pain, and discomfort which may radiate to your neck.

When this happens, it is called referred pain.

This means that TMJ may not cause neck pain. However, pain can travel down to your neck and arise when yawning or performing other activities.


Stress is inevitable, but it may be mild or severe. It is a necessary mechanism for every individual.

Stress itself does not cause neck pain, however, cultivated habits can lead to

Symptoms Of Cramp Pain In Neck When Yawning

Symptoms vary in every individual and condition. They may arise separately or together depending on the affected areas and root cause.

Signs of neck cramps include;


This is the most common symptom, often prevalent while yawning, chewing, sneezing, or coughing.

Pain may also radiate towards your jaw, hands, or fingers.

If you constantly have or suddenly develop severe and debilitating pain, contact your physician or health center immediately.

Muscle Spasms

If you suffer from pinched nerves, you are more likely to experience sudden and involuntary muscle cramps in your neck, shoulders, or back.

Prickling sensations

Prickling sensations feel like pins and needles in the affected area. It can be a sudden sharp feeling that may ease up immediately after you yawn.


Your neck is a sensitive spot that consists of nerves connected to one another.

When there is a restriction or improper flow of fluids, the nerves get compressed and sometimes become numb.


Neck pain caused by the temporomandibular joint disorder has symptoms that include headaches, especially migraines. It may present even when you are not yawning.


Sore and stiff neck muscles are another sign of strained muscles. This is one of the first signs to look out for.

Neck spasms start off like this before developing into other severe symptoms.


Another associated symptom of temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Vertigo causes temporary lightheadedness. It may happen while you are yawning or immediately after.

Back aches

Because of the body’s structure, muscle spasms or cramps in your neck can extend towards your back or spine.

There are sometimes cases where this signifies a serious condition.

When Should I Worry About Neck Pain When Yawning

Sometimes your neck pain may show an underlying medical health problem that is or has been overloaded for too long.

If you develop any of these symptoms besides your neck pain, consider going to your physician.

Neck pain, yawning and throat pain

Neck pain that occurs frequently with yawning and stretches down to your chin may signal an underlying problem, such as chronic inflammation of gum disease or an issue with your neck structure.

Accompanying symptoms include shoulder pain that radiates down your arms, painful breathing, feelings of something stuck, numbness, or weakness.

Neck pain, yawning and headaches

If you develop severe headaches that come suddenly, followed by fever, rigidity, stiffness, and inability to bend your head forward.

You should seek immediate medical attention.

Neck pain, yawning and unexplained dizziness, nausea and vomiting

This sometimes shows a problem with the stability of the upper cervical spine and should never be dismissed or overlooked.

Neck pain when yawning occurs for a long period or duration of time.

This is a major red flag, especially if it bothers you for over 6 weeks, with an intense level of severity that does not get better or improve.

Sometimes your neck pain may not seem like a serious cause for alarm at first, accidents that affect your spine or tear nerves but seem to have a mild onset of symptoms that get worse after a while cause it. In cases like this, it can become a highly debilitating condition.

Treatment For Neck Pain

Treatment for neck pain usually depends on the diagnosis. A physician performs a physical exam along with one or more imaging studies and tests.

Depending on the results, symptoms, duration, and cause, your doctor may refer you to a specialist. Some treatment methods include;

Pain medication

Prescribed or over-the-counter medication is one of the most common treatment methods.

They are sometimes anti-inflammatory drugs that help manage inflammation and ease pain.

Physical Therapy

Therapy is usually for cases that involve your neck structure, but it can also be used in other situations.

Do simple stretches and exercises, massage the affected joints to loosen up tightened muscles and improve the flow of circulation.


This is for infection-related issues. They stop the growth of viral, causing infections, strengthen your immune system or help restore hormonal balance.


This is rarely necessary as most neck pains does not require a complicated treatment process. It is only done in very severe cases.

You may also practice the following for mild neck pain and stiffness;

Take time off activities that aggravate your symptoms and condition, such as sports or heavy lifting.

Stretch your head slowly from side to side or in up and down motions.

Use good posture. Frequently change your positions. Do not stand or sit in the same position for a prolonged duration.

Apply cold and heat therapy. Start with a cold compress for the first few days. After that, continue with a heating pad or take hot showers.

Always seek your doctor’s confirmation before using a neck brace or collar. They can worsen your symptoms.

Avoid placing your phone between your neck and shoulders. It strains the muscles and joints.

Pain is often your body’s way of signaling distress. Sometimes It is a mild case such as a simple neck spasm or in serious situations, a severe inflammation.

Regardless of the cause, always seek treatment and medical attention. If you are confused or do not know what is causing it, contact your doctor or health center for a diagnosis.


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