Neck pain is a leading cause of musculoskeletal discomfort for many people. Conditions may be chronic or long term, or acute in nature. Neck pain may be the result of an injury, like a car accident or a fall; can be due to long term stress on the neck, such as poor posture or repetitive activities; or can be of an unknown cause – some people just wake up with a sore neck!
Neck pain is often accompanied by headaches, dizziness, nausea and light headedness. It can at times refer across the shoulders and even down into the arms, possibly causing paraesthesia like pins and needles or numbness.
A physiotherapist will perform a thorough assessment of your neck. They will look at your posture, range of motion, stability and strength.
Once your physiotherapist has assessed you they will be able to give you a likely diagnosis and prognosis for your condition. They will then tailor a suitable management program for you which will likely involve a combination of manual and exercise therapies.
Hands-on, or manual, treatment can be beneficial at relieving tight structures, improving range of motion and reducing symptoms such as pain and headaches. A combination of techniques may be used and might include massage, dry needling, cupping and joint mobilisations. Taping or strapping is also often employed as effective feedback strategy to provide support and deload structures that may be under strain, as well as a great means to re-educate correct posture.
The prescription of an appropriate exercise program is usually also provided as part of a holistic management program. Exercises may include
stability and strength as well as range of motion and stretching. Your physiotherapist will be able to guide you through a gradual exercise
program that will ensure you minimise your risk of re-injury and avoid developing chronic symptoms.