Neck pain is a common condition that can cause substantial pain and suffering. Neck pain is the 4th leading cause of disability worldwide, behind conditions such as low back pain and mental health disorders. On any given day, approximately one in 20 people will experience neck pain.
In recent years there has been an increase in the incidence of neck pain due to our shift towards sedentary lifestyle and long periods slumped behind a computer and using our mobile phones while lying in bed or the couch in poor positions.
Most cases of neck pain are non-serious and do not require specific medical treatment, such as surgery. However, in a small percentage of cases (<1%), neck pain may be caused by a serious underlying disease, such as cancer or infection.
Our role as a physiotherapist is to make sure a patient with neck pain does not have a serious underlying disease. Once this has been confirmed, guidelines recommended that patients are managed using non-invasive treatments, such as treatments provided by a physiotherapist.
Physiotherapy for patients with neck pain involves a thorough assessment of the problem, followed by treatment plan tailored to target the cause of the problem. A physiotherapist will assess a patients range and quality of neck movement, and test muscle strength and endurance as appropriate. For more complex cases of neck pain, a physiotherapist may assess the surrounding joints to determine whether a patient’s neck pain is caused by problems in other areas. A common example would be reduced movement in the upper back putting strain on the neck.
Imaging is rarely indicated for neck pain as it cannot reliably identify the source of the problem and does not help physiotherapists decide what treatment to provide.
Treatment For Neck Pain:
- Advice to remain active and stay at work
- Manual techniques, such as massage and joint mobilisation
- Gentle stretching exercises
- Strengthening of the muscles around the neck
- Advice on gradually returning to usual activities
Patients are individuals, and so the choice of treatment from the above list will largely be determined from the assessment findings.
If you are suffering neck pain please do not hesitate to get in touch; give us a call to book yourself in with one of our team to get to the root cause of your problem and get you free of pain so you can get back to the activities you most enjoy.