Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain is a common condition that is very disabling. If the condition is severe in nature if commonly will refer pain into the shoulder or down the arm. There are many causes of neck pain. Neck pain can be caused by trauma such as ‘whiplash’, as well as sporting injuries, sustained postures at work, stiffness and arthritis in the joints of the neck.
Muscles, joints or nerves in the neck or a combination of all three all contribute to neck pain. The specific structure causing neck pain can be identified during an assessment. Research suggests that physiotherapists are very good at identifying the exact area responsible for pain; once identified this area can be treated appropriately.
A common cause of neck pain is excessive stiffness in the joints further down the spine at the base of the neck and between the shoulders. It is thought that stiffness in these areas causes excessive stress through the areas further up causing them to become overworked and painful. Recent research suggests that certain patients benefit greatly from manipulation of these stiff areas with large improvements achieved over one or two treatment sessions.
Treatment of Neck Pain
Treatment consists of;
• Mobilising or manipulating stiff neck joints
• Trigger point release and deep tissue massage to reduce tension and muscle spasm around the neck and shoulder.
• Muscle retraining and strengthening around the neck
• A home exercise program to improve range of motion and maintain strength
• Postural education and advice (including taping if necessary) to prevent re-occurrence.