Written by April West and Mallory McGowan, PT, DPT

You may not recognize the word Cervicalgia, but you’ve probably experienced it’s symptoms at some point in your life. Cervicalgia is a diagnosis to describe severe pain and discomfort in the cervical spine region. Cervic is the Latin word for “neck” and algos is the Greek word for pain, and Cervicalgia is the term used for neck pain. There are several factors that contribute to neck pain such as tight muscles & stiff joints. If you have to move your entire body to look in a certain direction, you may have a stiff neck and could benefit from physical therapy.

What causes a stiff neck?

There are many answers to this question, so the best way to know what is causing your stiff neck is to call Performance Physical Therapy to schedule a time to discuss your symptoms and discomforts with a physical therapist. In the meantime, let’s discuss the muscle in your neck that is highly susceptible to injury, which can cause a stiff neck.

The Levator Scapulae is housed at that back and the side of your neck. It’s purpose is to connect the shoulder blade to the cervical spine and can become inflamed easily.

How to injure your Levator Scapulae muscle:

  • Sleeping in an awkward position
  • A fall
  • Sports injuries
  • Holding a phone between your neck & shoulder frequently
  • Stress (tension)
  • Constant head movement (like swimming laps)
  • Slouching at the computer
  • Looking downward at a mobile phone


  • Soreness
  • Headache
  • Shoulder Pain | Scapular pain
  • Arm Pain | Numbness & tingling
  • Limited mobility

Cervicalgia can cause aching discomfort, sharp pains, numbness, tingling, burning or shooting pain causing a disruption in normal routines and even limit your mobility. You may want to meet with your physician or seek treatment from a physical therapist through Direct Access. After discussing your pain, limitations and your abilities, your physical therapist will work with you to get you back to a pain-free lifestyle. Our physical therapists will build a plan of care specifically designed for you based on their assessment.


Performance Physical Therapy has four locations in the Sacramento region: Roseville, Rancho Cordova, Folsom and East Sacramento. To find out more about our services, staff and the culture at Performance Physical Therapy visit

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