Effective Treatment for Neck Pain

The bones, ligaments and muscles of your neck support your head and allow movement. Abnormalities, inflammation or injury can cause neck pain or stiffness. In most cases, neck pain is not a serious condition and can be relieved within a few days. However, in some cases, neck pain may indicate a serious injury or illness and require a visit to the doctor. 

If you are experiencing muscle pain, spasms or stiffness in your neck, poor posture, or tension headaches, book an appointment with a Physiotherapist at The Back Clinic.

Symptoms of neck pain 

Symptoms include: 

  • Pain that often worsens when you hold your head in one place for long periods of time, such as when driving or working at a computer
  • Muscle tension and spasms
  • Limited ability to move your head
  • Headaches

Causes of neck pain 

Because the neck supports the weight of the head, it can be at risk of injuries and conditions that cause pain and restrict motion. Neck pain causes include:

  • Muscle strains – Overuse, such as spending too many hours hunched over a computer or smartphone, often leads to muscle strains. Even small things, like reading in bed, can strain the neck muscles.
  • Worn joints – Like other joints in the body, the neck joints tend to wear with age. In response to this wear and tear, the body often forms bone spurs that can interfere with joint movement and cause pain.
  • Nerve compression – Herniated disks or bone spurs in the neck (cervical vertebrae) can press on the nerves branching off from the spinal cord.
  • Injuries – A sudden movement or impact overstretches or overloads the joints in the neck. The head is first hyperextended and then snapped back very quickly. Most people involved in a car accident suffer whiplash, but it can also be caused by a fall.
  • Diseases – Certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer, can cause neck pain. 

Types of neck pain 

  • Some common types of neck pain include: 
  • Muscle Spasm – A muscle spasm is the sudden, spontaneous, and painful contraction of a muscle. When this happens in the neck, you may experience pain, a feeling of tightness, and the inability to move your head in one or more directions. 
  • Referred Neck Pain – Referred pain is pain that is initiated in one part of the body but occurs in another. In the neck, pain can be referred from the heart, esophagus, and other seemingly unrelated organ systems. It could be a sign of a much more serious problem and you should seek medical attention. 
  • Facet Joint Pain – The facet joints are located where two vertebrae meet. Acute injury or arthritic degeneration of these joints can cause pain that is described as deep, sharp, and aching. 
  • Nerve Pain – Each vertebra serves as an exit point for one or more nerves that branch off the spinal cord. Inflammation or damage near these exit sites can pinch or irritate the nerve roots, causing pain that can be described as sharp or dull, fleeting or constant, and accompanied by burning sensations or a pinprick sensation. 
  • Bone Pain – Most neck pain is caused by injuries and diseases of soft tissue structures (muscles, ligaments and nerves). However, the bones themselves can also be painful. Bone pain can be a sign of bone weakness or fracture, which could destabilize the cervical spine and put your spinal cord at risk. 

Treatment for neck injuries 

  • Treatment will depend on the cause of your neck injury. Treatment may include: 
  • Physiotherapy – A physiotherapist will help relieve pain, reduce inflammation, improve flexibility and strengthen muscles in the neck. They will teach you exercises to correct your posture and reduce the risk of the pain or injuring recurring. 
  • Medicine – Over-the-counter and prescription medicine can help relieve pain, reduce inflammation and help you find comfort. In some cases, corticosteroid injects into the affected area may be required. 
  • Acupuncture – Thin needles are inserted into specific spots along the spine to trigger the release of certain chemicals into the body, helping reduce pain. Acupuncture, used with traditional treatment, like pain management or physiotherapy can help. 
  • Anti-inflammatory diet – A diet that supports your body’s natural ability to fight inflammation, in combination with other treatment plans, can help relieve symptoms.

 

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Some of the Medical Aids that cover treatment.

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