Neck Pain in Women Linked to Parkinson's Disease

Is ongoing neck pain in women a possible sign of early Parkinson's disease?

Woman talking to her doctor holding the back of her neck in pain
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It can be, but there are also many other possible causes for neck pain, regardless of whether you're a woman or a man. Your neck is a particularly vulnerable part of your body, and pain in that area can result from muscle strain, injury, arthritis, and several different diseases, some of which (like Parkinson's) may be more serious.

If you have persistent neck pain, you should see your healthcare provider, who can hopefully pinpoint the cause of the pain, which will determine how it should be treated. If it is Parkinson's disease, there are effective medications to manage your symptoms.

Could Neck Pain Mean Parkinson's?

There's no doubt that Parkinson's disease can cause pain — if you do have the condition, you'll almost certainly experience stiff joints and all kinds of muscle cramps, along with other symptoms. Most of these will occur because Parkinson's makes your muscles tight.

Cramps and pain are most common in the muscles in your back, neck, calf, and feet. You may also experience burning and tingling in your muscles, or even restless leg syndrome.

Some women with Parkinson's disease report neck pain as an early symptoms, together with classic signs of the condition like shaking hands and slow movement. Therefore, ongoing neck pain may be an early warning sign of Parkinson's in some women.

Only around 10% to 12% of people with Parkinson's experience pain as their very first symptom of the condition – in most cases, the pain comes with other symptoms. Overall, though, about 30% to 50% of Parkinson's patients experience pain at some point over the course of their illness, so it is a pretty common problem.

Talking to Your Healthcare Provider

How do you know if your neck pain is potentially related to early signs of Parkinson's disease?

You can't know for sure, but you and your healthcare provider can explore the issue. If your neck pain is accompanied by any of the other early warning signs of the condition, such as stiff shoulder, small handwriting, hand tremor, reduced arm swing, and shuffling gait, then it becomes more likely that you may have Parkinson's disease.

If you have one or more of these symptoms, you should speak to a neurologist about them. Early identification may allow healthcare providers to slow the progression of the disease, if, in fact, you do have the disease.

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2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Misailidou V, Malliou P, Beneka A, Karagiannidis A, Godolias G. Assessment of patients with neck pain: a review of definitions, selection criteria, and measurement toolsJ Chiropr Med. 2010;9(2):49–59. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2010.03.002

  2. Fil A, Cano-De-La-Cuerda R, Muñoz-Hellín E, Vela L, Ramiro-González M, Fernández-De-Las-Peñas C. Pain in Parkinson disease: A review of the literatureParkinsonism & Related Disorders. 2013;19(3):285-294. doi:10.1016/j.parkreldis.2012.11.009

Additional Reading
  • Rezak M. Is Pain a Symptom of Parkinson's Disease? American Parkinson Disease Association website.