Acute pain is usually sustained through direct trauma which can be due to fall, accident or direct hit to your neck, upper back and shoulders. If trauma and pain are minor then a little bit of rest and light movement and stretching may be sufficient to resolve your neck and upper back pain. However, if your neck pain and discomfort is still there to same extent or getting worse after two or three days, the chance of it resolving on its own is quite slim. In addition, the longer your neck pain is present the more spasm and restriction of movement through neck and upper back area is going to be. Also if acute pain of your neck and upper back area stays for long enough it will become chronic pain.
As acute stage of neck and upper back continues a chronic pain sets in. The significance of this is that certain physiological changes are taking place in your body. There are some studies showing that long term effect of chronic pain will affect the chemistry of your brain as well as resulting in change of the wiring of the nervous system. Moreover, cells in the spinal cord and brain of a person with chronic pain, especially in the section of the brain that processes emotions, deteriorate more quickly than normal, exacerbating many of the depression – like symptoms. Therefore chronic pain has a capacity to change your social and emotional behavior thus possibly leaving you struggling with day to day living.