Lower Back pain
Neck pain (or cervicalgia) is a common problem, with two-thirds of the population having neck pain at some point in their lives.
Neck pain, although felt in the neck, can be caused by numerous other spinal problems.
Neck pain may arise due to muscular tightness in both the neck and upper back, or pinching of the nerves emanating from the cervical vertebrae.
Joint disruption in the neck creates pain, as does joint disruption in the upper back.
The head is supported by the lower neck and upper back, and it is these areas that commonly cause neck pain.
The top three joints in the neck allow for most movement of the neck and head.
The lower joints in the neck and those of the upper back create a supportive structure for the head to sit on.
If this support system is affected adversely, then the muscles in the area will tighten, leading to neck pain.
By far the most common cause of neck pain relates to the effects of poor posture. In order to understand the impact of poor posture, we must first consider why spinal alignment within the neck is so important.
Your head weighs about 5 kgs and in normal alignment it is very carefully balanced on top of your seven neck bones (vertebrae).
Your muscles work very hard to maintain this postion and easily withstand short periods of variation.
The problem arises when we assume awkward positions for prolonged periods, the fine balance is disturbed and the nerves, muscles, joints, ligaments and discs of your neck become strained and irritated.
In fact, the tension in your neck and shoulder muscles doubles for every 2-3 cm’s that your head is forward! Over time, the neck strain and pressure accumulates to a point where it becomes chronic and even the smallest changes in posture cause significant effects.
Coupled with the stresses and demands of modern life, it is no surprise why neck pain is so common.
Other common causes of neck pain include whiplash, arthritis and sporting injuries.
- Persistant neck ache first thing in the morning
- Neck stiffness when reversing in the car
- Clicking neck noise when turning
- Constant aching neck muscles
- Tingling in your hands or fingers
Thankfully, Physiotherapy offers a very effective treatment for neck pain. After conducting a complete history, orthopaedic and neurological examination, your Physiotherapist will recommend a course of treatment that aims to reduce pressure, restore movement and prevent recurrence. Typically, your Physiotherapist will recommend the following:
- Postural advice and how to avoid further strain
- A series of spinal mobilisations to restore proper movement to the neck vertebrae
- Massage to tight neck muscles
- Neck exercises to encourage improved movement
- Neck strengthening exercises
- Heat/ice therapy to help manage your neck pain
- Recommend a contoured pillow to provide correct support while sleeping.