Neck pain can cover anything from mild irritation to severe burning pain. Unlike many other conditions, neck pain can be caused by factors not immediately obvious such as poor sleeping positions, work-related positions including overuse of computers, stress and certain sports.
Sources of the problem
Pain in the neck can be due to injury, arthritic changes, a mechanical or muscular problem or a trapped nerve caused by a bulge in one the of discs between the vertebrae. Besides the small aches, neck troubles can bring on a host of other symptoms, including head aches, pains in the scalp, face or ears, dizziness, pressure behind the eyes and referred pain into the arm and hand.
Problems include radiculopathy, which is a pinched nerve, often from a disc protrusion. This causes pain down the arm, often described as an electrical feeling. Myofascial Pain – this is generally an aching pain in muscles that tends to be associated with poor posture of other job-related tasks. Patients often report they have difficulty sleeping. Although very rare, Spinal Stenosis is a narrowing of the nerve openings either around the spinal cord or nerve roots that can cause symptoms similar to a pinched nerve. Tendon, ligament and soft tissue pain is localised pain when an area is stretched or its muscles are overused. This results in tenderness in these structures.
Spinal instability is a problem caused by increased motion between vertebra, usually resulting from an injury. The pain typically feels like tingling in the neck or arms.
How it can be treated, and what to expect at the physiotherapy clinic
Ease of symptoms may involve weekly treatment of the acute phase, in order to reduce inflammation and pain. Then, if symptoms persist, treatment sessions may be more intermittent (once per month). Our solutions range from mobilisations, manipulation, the use of electrical equipment (ultrasound, interferential therapy, laser), acupuncture, deep soft tissue massage, neural mobilisations and lifestyle advice.
Factors such as sitting position, exercise regime and posture, all contribute to the problem. Your physiotherapist will be able to advise on your own set of symptoms, and ways of preventing recurrence and lifestyle adjustments. Ergonomic advice from your physio can reduce further problems.