The neck is one of the most important parts of the body as it is the top part of our spine supports our head and brain. It is also one of our more neglected body parts of our body. We all stretch our limbs but almost always never stretch our necks which can lead to increased tension and tightness in the muscles.
Assessment is an integral part as a physiotherapist needs to look at posture and muscular imbalances to determine if these factors are causing the pain. They also need to feel for cervical vertebrae alignment, movement and stiffness. Neck problems can produce referred pain into the arm(s) so assessment of any neurological impairment is necessary.
Common types of injuries
- Headache - Pain into the neck or head often due to poor posture and alignment.
- Whiplash - Restricted and painful movements and the neck can feel unstable and weak. This usually happens after car accidents or high impact sports such as skiing, water skiing and rugby.
- Slipped Disc - Neck pain which is usually associated with altered sensation into arm(s) and hand(s).
- Wry Neck - Stiff and painful neck, usually from falling asleep with the neck in a compromised position.
- Fracture - A break in one or more of the bones in the neck.
- Posture re-training and education.
- Soft tissue therapy to loosen tight muscles and fascia.
- Mobilisations to help stiff vertebrae return to their normal state of movement.
- Electrotherapy to relax muscle spasm, reduce stiffness and relieve pain.
- Traction to ease the pressure on trapped discs.
- Specialised home exercise program to maintain and improve range of movement or strength and prevent reoccurrence of symptoms.
- Pilates training to improve posture, body alignment and core control to prevent further injury.