Neck pain is commonly caused by poor posture or by an injury to the area such as a motor vehicle accident or sporting injury. Arthritis and degeneration of the discs can also be responsible for neck problems.
When you visit your physiotherapist, you will be examined to determine if your neck pain is a spinal/joint problem, a muscular/soft tissue problem or a nerve problem.
Treatment usually includes:
- Hands-on treatment such as a spinal manipulation/mobilisation
- Massage/Soft tissue techniques to release tight muscles/ trigger points
- If there is associated nerve pain techniques will e used to take pressure off the nerve and relax the nerve
- Stretches to improve neck mobility
- Exercises to improve neck posture and strength
- Pain relieving modalities including Electrotherapy, ultrasound and heat treatment
- Ergonomic advice for work and home, adjusting furniture and exercises
Because our necks are so mobile, they are easily damaged. Postural problems and injury ( eg Whiplash, occupational and sporting) are the most common causes of neck pain. Arthritis and degeneration of the discs can also cause a pain in the neck. This can then, in turn, lead to headaches.
Bad posture can cause neck pain. Ligaments are over-stretched, the neck joint and nerves are put under pressure and muscles become tired. Slouching your shoulders with your head pushed forward, working with your head down for long periods of time – eg on the computer or sleeping with your head in an awkward position will all tend to cause or worsen neck pain.
Increasingly the scientific literature is suggesting that physiotherapy is an effective and efficient way of treating many forms of neck pain and neck related headaches. More and more medications typically used in the past to manage arthritic pain have been either increasingly cautioned against or withdrawn. Growing evidence mounts in the medical literature that physiotherapy is essentially the best ongoing mode of management of arthritic related neck pain.
Please see our section on Headaches for more information