What Are The Symptoms of A Misaligned Neck?

A misaligned neck, also known as a neck misalignment or cervical misalignment, refers to when one or more of the cervical vertebrae in the neck are slightly out of position. This misalignment can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms. Here are some of the most common signs that you may have a misaligned neck.


One of the most common symptoms of a misaligned neck is frequent headaches. Headaches are often caused by the misaligned vertebrae putting pressure on nerves in the neck. This can cause pain and tension headaches. These headaches typically start at the base of the skull and radiate throughout the head. They may occur on one or both sides of the head. For many people with a neck misalignment, these headaches are chronic and recurring. The pain levels can range from mild to severe migraine-like headaches.

Neck Pain

A misaligned neck frequently causes neck pain itself. You may feel a stiffness, soreness, or ache in your neck. This discomfort results from the vertebrae bones and muscles being slightly out of their proper positions. Turning or tilting your head can make the pain worse. The neck pain may be localized to one side or both sides. It can range from mildly annoying to severe and debilitating.

Shoulder Pain

Misaligned vertebrae in the neck often cause pain to radiate from the neck down into the shoulders. You may have sore, stiff, or painful shoulders, especially when trying to move or lift your arms overhead. One shoulder blade might be noticeably higher than the other as a result of muscles spasming on one side of the neck. The pain can extend down from the shoulders into the upper arms as well.


A neck misalignment can irritate nerves that run from the neck into the arms and hands. This can cause numbness, tingling, or a “pins and needles” sensation in the arms, hands, or fingers. You may feel clumsy when trying to grasp objects or struggle with fine motor coordination. The numbness or tingling may come and go, or it may be chronic if the nerve compression is severe.


Some people with a misaligned neck experience dizziness or vertigo. They may feel “off balance” or that the room is spinning. A neck misalignment can disrupt input from the neck to the brain about the body’s position and equilibrium. This faulty signaling results in dizziness and disorientation for some individuals.

Range of Motion Problems

Restricted range of motion in the neck is another potential symptom. You may not be able to fully turn or tilt your head to each side. Bringing your ear down toward your shoulder may be limited on one or both sides. A misalignment inhibits the normal mobility of the cervical spine due to vertebrae impinging on each other abnormally.

Poor Posture

A misaligned neck can throw off your overall head and neck posture. You may notice your head tilts or slants to one side. Or you may have a protruding chin that you cannot keep straight. Your shoulders might appear very uneven as well. A neck misalignment contributes to poor posture that just doesn’t feel normal.

If you experience any of these symptoms for more than a day or two, it’s a good idea to see your doctor or chiropractor. They can examine your neck and determine if a misalignment is present. From there, a treatment plan can be created to help realign the vertebrae and alleviate your symptoms. The sooner a misaligned neck is corrected, the faster you can get relief.