If you suffer from neck pain, your symptoms can be caused from a muscular, joint, or neural system dysfunction. A Physiotherapist can manage your pain with a thorough history, assessment of the joints, muscles, and neural structures, sound clinical reasoning and appropriate treatment to correct the abnormalities found on examination.
You may be suffering from the following:
- Acute wry neck: a sudden onset of neck pain accompanied by spasm of the muscles causing the neck to bend or twist away from the painful side.
- Whiplash injury: occurs when the soft tissues of the neck have been stretched and damaged causing pain and tenderness, stiffness, muscle spasm, headaches, and pain in shoulders and arms.
- Mechanical pain: often caused by poor postural habits which puts strain on the muscles and vertebral column.
- Osteoarthritis: a degenerative joint disease which typically occurs with age and natural wear and tear of the joints. However, there may be other factors which may contribute to this condition such as injury, genetics, overweight, and repetitive movements involving the neck.
- Shoulder pain: may be due to a compressed nerve originating in the neck or injuries to surrounding soft tissues. You may feel pain that radiates from the shoulder down to the arm, numbness and tingling, or feeling of weakness.
Factors that increase pain can be a guide to the possible source of pain. For example, symptoms caused by looking up or down, or turning/bending your neck may indicate different neck pathologies. It is also important to pay attention to combined movements, the effect of lying down. Also the position of maximum comfort or discomfort, and the number of pillows used to sleep at night.
A Physiotherapist at Capital Physio can effectively treat your pain with specific therapeutic exercises and manual therapy as well as educating you on modifying your environment to reduce strain on your neck. Most patients presenting with neck pain do not require further medical investigation, however, X-rays should be performed if there has been trauma to the specific area, acute whiplash or if you experience radiating symptoms from a compressed nerve root.
Article written by Riyad Zuber, Senior Physiotherapist