In any one year 40% of adults will experience neck pain. In most cases it is not due to a serious disease or neck problem and often the exact cause for the pain is not clear. Most are probably due to minor sprains or bad posture. This comes as no surprise when we consider the activities of modern life such as sitting in front of a computer, watching prolonged periods of television and an increasing incidence of poor posture – particularly forward head posture.
Problems within the neck can also cause headache, shoulder pain, TMJ or jaw pain, pins and needles in the hands, carpal tunnel syndrome and upper back pain.
We encourage you to contact us for a thorough assessment with one of our Physiotherapists if you regularly experience any of the following,:
- You may wake up in the morning with a sore neck.
- When reversing the car and turning your head, your neck may feel stiff.
- When you turn your head you hear a clicking sound.
- Your neck muscles ache constantly.
- You experience a sensation of pins and needles in your fingers and hands.
With more moving parts than any other machine, it’s not surprising your body occasionally cries out in pain or refuses to do what you tell it to do. After all, there are hundreds of different muscles and joints that can go wrong. Fortunately, there’s an effective way to treat many of the problems you can experience –PHYSIOTHERAPY.
Causes of neck pain
One survey done has found that, of adults aged 45-75 years, about 1 in 4 women and about 1 in 5 men had current neck pain.
By far the most common cause of neck pain relates to the effects of poor posture. In order to understand the impact of poor posture, we must first consider why spinal alignment within the neck is so important.
Your head weighs about 5 kgs and in normal alignment it is very carefully balanced on top of your seven neck bones (vertebrae).
- Your muscles work very hard to maintain this postion and easily withstand short periods of variation.
- Problems arise when we assume awkward positions for prolonged periods, the fine balance is disturbed and the nerves, muscles, joints, ligaments and discs of your neck become strained and irritated.
- The tension in your neck and shoulder muscles doubles for every 2-3 cm’s that your head is forward! Over time, the neck strain and pressure accumulates to a point where it becomes chronic and even the smallest changes in posture cause significant effects.
- Sporting Injuries.
Because neck pain could be an indicator of various illnesses, your physio will ask a number of questions to check for these conditions.
Treatment for Neck Pain
Before any action is taken, your physiotherapist will assess your neck pain, diagnose the problem and help you understand what’s wrong. They will work with you to develop an effective treatment plan that takes into account your lifestyle, leisure activities and general health. Thankfully, Physiotherapy offers a very effective treatment for neck pain. Typically, your Physiotherapist will recommend the following:
- Postural advice and how to avoid further strain, good posture may help. Check that your sitting position at work or at the computer is not poor. (That is, not with your head flexed forward with a stooped back.) Sit upright.
- A series of spinal mobilisations to restore proper movement to the neck vertebrae
- Massage to tight neck muscles
- Neck exercises to encourage improved movement
- Neck strengthening exercises
- SCENAR therapy
- Keep active
- Heat/ice therapy to help manage your neck pain
- Recommend a firm supporting pillow to help your posture when sleeping.
- Advice on how you can help yourself. For example, you may be shown exercises that you can do between treatment sessions
Please contact us to arrange your comprehensive neck pain assessment…we look forward to hearing from you!
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