Neck Pain – Causes and Treatment

13/02/2020

 

Experiencing neck pain? You’re not alone. In any given year around 40-50% of the population experience neck pain, and both symptoms and causes can vary substantially. Whether you’re experiencing sharp pain, dull muscular aches or are having difficulty moving your neck rest assured that treatment is usually straightforward. By scheduling an appointment with your physiotherapist as soon as you notice pain, a diagnosis can be made and a treatment plan put in place so that you can return to your daily activities sooner.

Below, we will share some common causes of neck pain, how you can reduce your risk and the treatment options available.

What Causes Neck Pain?

The causes of neck pain are wide and varied, but pain can most commonly be attributed to one of four:

  • Injuries sustained during sport
  • Extensive computer use
  • Poor posture
  • Accidents

The above is by no means an exhaustive list. Neck injuries can be joint related, muscle-related, bone-related, disc-related, nerve-related, vertigo-related, headache/migraine-related or attributable to systemic diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis. It is important you visit your GP and physiotherapist as soon as symptoms are observed, so that an accurate diagnosis can be made.

Symptoms of Neck Pain

Due to the myriad of causes for neck pain, symptoms will differ between individuals. However you may experience the following:

  • Pain around the neck and shoulders
  • Stiffness or difficulty moving your neck
  • General soreness
  • Headaches

Will neck pain ease over time?

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to brush off their neck pain and hope it gets better in time, but this can cause the issue to become much worse. The neuromuscular system in the human body is remarkably complex, and it’s made up of numerous nerves and muscles which play an important role in regulating movement. Injuries place significant strain on these components, and your ability to control movement, posture and stability will be limited.

Some people have naturally weaker muscles, which can make maintaining an upright posture difficult. It is therefore important to visit your physiotherapist who can show you muscle strengthening exercises which will help to support a healthy posture and reduce your chances of experiencing neck/shoulder pain.

If you have been experiencing neck pain for any more than a couple of days, you should book an appointment with your physio immediately.

Neck Pain – Physio Treatment

Treatment for neck pain is centred around rehabilitation, aiming to restore full function to your neck and prevent a reoccurrence. Exercise is one of the best ways to treat neuromuscular impairments, and your physio will be the best person to discuss appropriate exercises for your specific condition.

Exercises are generally centred around targeting and activating the deep cervical muscles as well as improving the endurance capacity (strength) of the deep neck muscles. This will reduce pain, minimise risk of recurrence and make it easier to maintain a healthy posture.

Other treatment options include:

  • Heat and Cold Packs – to ease pain and inflammation.
  • Manual Therapy – Rest can be beneficial to your recovery, but too much can also result in your neck muscles stiffening up which will extend your recovery time. Manual therapy can help to loosen muscles and shorten recovery times.
  • Gentle Home Massage – After consultation with your GP or physio, you may wish to do some DIY massaging to relieve stress and muscle tension.
  • Anti-inflammatory cream – These creams can provide temporary pain relief.

Ongoing Neck Pain? Call Erko Physio Today

Neck pain can be debilitating, but treatment is almost always straightforward. If you’ve been experiencing neck pain for more than a few days, it’s time to get in touch with the friendly professionals at Erko Physio. Please call us today on 02 9557 9272 and we’ll put you on track for recovery.