No matter what type of neck pain that you have, it is not fun. Neck pain is characterized by whether it is from a recent injury or not. This correlates with how long the pain may last. Often, neck pain will either be categorized as chronic or acute.
Acute pain will often start after an acute injury such as a sports injury or neck strain. Chronic pain often starts gradually and there is typically not any type of identifiable cause. Pain that lasts for at least three months is typically categorized as chronic. Pain that lasts for over a month, but less than three months is often called subacute pain, which is a somewhat gray area.
Acute pain is often caused by a ligament or muscle strain. Sleeping wrong, poor posture, sudden impact, carrying heavy loads on a single side of the body are all examples of what can cause this type of pain. This pain will come on suddenly and is a type of warning.
Chronic pain might be related to other health issues such as osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease. In some cases, chronic pain may be the result of acute pain that does not heal.