What Causes Neck Pain?
Neck pain or a stiff neck are extremely common can affect your life in so many different ways. Whether it be sharp neck pain, dull muscular aches, headache, or an inability to fully move your head, a sore neck can be very frustrating yet it’s simple to fix in the majority of cases.
There are many causes of neck pain. It is important to make an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your neck pain so that appropriate treatment can be directed at the cause. Please consult your physiotherapist or doctor for the most accurate diagnosis and best treatment for your neck pain.
Neck Joints and Muscles
Commonly we find that neck joints (cervical spine) become stiff or locked much like a rusty hinge. This in turn usually causes protective muscle spasm of some neck and shoulder muscles and weakness of others. The longer this abnormal scenario exists, the harder it is to reverse the habit. Your neck posture alters, which strains adjacent joints and muscles, and the condition cyclically deteriorates. Ultimately you end up with a sore neck.
The interesting thing about necks is that one stiff neck joint or one weak or tight muscle can have a dramatic effect if not fixed quickly. We often see patients who have unsuccessfully tried various neck treatment techniques. What we normally find it that it is a combination of your neck joints, muscle stretching, massage, acupuncture/dry needling, neural tissue, strength exercise and postural techniques that are required to reverse some well established poor habits.
Neck Pain Causes
Neck Joint Injuries
Nerve-related / Referred Pain
Neck Pain Treatment
The best treatment for your neck pain is determined entirely by the specific reasons for WHY you are suffering neck pain. Everyone is different, but there are some common similarities.
Your physiotherapist is highly skilled at the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical neck pain and headache. Posture correction is essential, but it does depend upon the availability of enough joint and muscle flexibility to attain a good posture, plus muscle strength and endurance to maintain your proper position. Address any deficit.
We understand that your neck pain may not be solely about stiff or wobbly joints or tight/weak neck muscles. There is a whole gamut of information that your physiotherapist will analyse during your diagnostic consultation and then commence the correction of your problems. They'll also consider other systemic conditions that can cause neck pain, e.g. cancer, and direct you towards the appropriate healthcare practitioner if necessary.
Fortunately, the vast majority of neck pain does come from your neck joints and muscles. Pleasingly, researchers have shown that a combination of neck joint and muscle treatment performed by your physiotherapist and some specific strengthening exercises are an effective way to eliminate your neck pain, stiffness and headaches.
For advice specific to the diagnosis and management of your neck pain, please contact your trusted healthcare practitioner.
Common Neck Pain Treatment Options
If you are in severe neck pain or have a stiff neck, it is best to assess promptly to exclude any red flag conditions such as cancer and then commence the best neck treatment straight away.
Chronic neck pain can be a lingering problem due to habit. Research tells us that symptoms lasting longer than three months become habitual and are much harder to solve. The sooner you get on top of your neck symptoms, the better your outcome.
Some of the neck pain treatment options available may include the following:
- Bed Rest
- Early Injury Treatment
- Avoid the HARM Factors
- Acupuncture and Dry Needling
- Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment
- Soft Tissue Massage
- Heat Packs
- Joint Mobilisation Techniques
- Kinesiology Tape
- Physiotherapy Instrument Mobilisation (PIM)
- Strength Exercises
- Stretching Exercises
- Supportive Taping & Strapping
- TENS Machine
What's the Best Pillow for Neck Pain?
The correct pillow is also vital. If you are waking through the night or in the morning with a stiff or painful neck, it may be that it's your pillow and not your neck that is the cause.
A neck collar is not recommended for most non-traumatic injuries as the collar encourages muscle weakness. However, in severe neck spasm conditions such as wry neck or whiplash, a collar is often used in the first week to assist with muscle relaxation.
Please ask your physiotherapist for specific advice.
Will A Posture Brace Help Your Neck Pain?
Posture support braces have improved over the years with new designs being very useful in building awareness of what the correct posture is. Bracing or posture taping is excellent for teenagers, the elderly or those using computers.
There are various posture braces available. You can find more information about posture braces via our online shop.
For more advice, please consult your neck physiotherapist.