'Im getting Neck Pain out of nowhere?'
If you are one of the many Australians who experience neck pain, you will be pleased to know that physiotherapy is proven to offer the solution that you have been searching for.
Neck pain impacts 1 in 10 people at any given time. This comes as no surprise when we consider that the activities of modern life commonly include sitting in front of a computer, sitting poorly when watching long periods of TV and poor posture when doing simple tasks like Walking. This is especially true when the neck is held too far forward due to looking down for long periods of time.
Unfortunately, neck pain can also cause other long and short term issues. This can include; headaches, shoulder pain, jaw pain, pins and needles and carpal tunnel syndrome.
So what are the most common symptoms?
Neck pain is most commonly detected through the following;
· Persistent neck pain first thing in the morning
· A stiff feeling when turning the neck. EG- when reversing the car
· A clicking noise when turning the neck
· Constant aching muscles
· Tingling in the hands or fingers
What causes 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 position and easily withstand short periods of variation. The problem arises when we assume awkward positions for prolonged periods. This is because the fine balance is disturbed and the nerves, muscles, joints, ligaments and discs of your neck become strained and irritated. In fact, 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. Coupled with the stresses and demands of modern life, it is no surprise why neck pain is so common.
Other common causes of neck pain include whiplash, arthritis and sporting injuries.
Treatment for Neck Pain
Thankfully, Physiotherapy offers a very effective treatment for neck pain. After conducting a complete history, orthopaedic and neurological examination, your Physiotherapist will recommend a course of treatment that aims to reduce pressure, restore movement and prevent a recurrence. Typically, your Physiotherapist will recommend the following:
- postural advice and how to avoid further strain
- 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 - heat/ice therapy to help manage your neck pain - recommend a contoured pillow to provide correct support while sleep.