Neck pain conditions we treat:
This is something that annoys many in the allied health field – why do we treat a neck so differently to many other body parts?
You might be wondering what I mean by this…
I mean that when people come in with say, knee pain, we aim to reduce the pain, increase the movement and then gradually load the joint back up to better than pre-injury levels, or as I like to tell my patients – we calm stuff down and then build it back up.
Why don’t we treat necks this way?
The neck seems to be a problem area for many therapists across all disciplines. I’ll admit that it can seem to be a complicated joint when you look at every single little thing that could go wrong. It can be overwhelming! Your neck moves in many different ways and is incredibly strong, whilst incredibly mobile!
I think that this may be the reason that it typically isn’t treated effectively and if you’re reading this then I can almost guarantee that you have, or have had, frustrating neck pain. So if you’d humour me for a few minutes, let me offer a solution to your pain… there is HOPE for you yet!
Neck Disc Pain Treatment
A bulging disc in the neck occurs when the outer layer covering the disc weakens and enters the spinal space. This can refer pain to the neck, shoulders, arms and back, especially if you try to look down at the floor or look up to the sky.
This can occur over time or as a result of a traumatic injury. You’ll be thankful to know that discs do heal, and respond very well to exercise and physiotherapy!
Whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck. Whiplash most often occurs during a car accident, but the injury can also result from a sports incidents or other types of trauma.
Spasm in the neck occurs as a result of whiplash as the muscles try to protect the spinal structures. Often patients report feeling fine immediately after the incident but muscle soreness and stiffness creeps in 24-48 hours later. Symptoms will include headaches, soreness with looking up, down, left or right and may also extend to the back and shoulders depending on how the whiplash has occurred.
We often hear about whiplash becoming a long term problem however most people with whiplash get better within a few weeks by following a treatment plan that includes exercise and physiotherapy. The sooner it is assessed and treatment begins, usually the better the outcome.
Wry Neck Pain Treatment
A wry neck occurs typically when sleeping or resting in an awkward position or performing a movement too quickly.
We’ve all had one before… you wake up, and all of a sudden it’s like your neck is stuck in one place. There is sharp neck pain as a result of muscle spasm and joint stiffness on one side of the neck. The movement is so stiff and restricted and you feel like you will never be able to turn your head again.
Luckily, you will! Often these symptoms are just temporary and once the muscle spasm settles down, your movement and pain free range will return. However if left on their own, this process can take weeks. With the help of Physiotherapy, it may just take days!
So what does help my neck?
Manual Therapy – This is such an effective tool to reduce pain initially and to get you feeling like you can move again, BUT…it shouldn’t last forever and if it does, I hate to say it but that therapist is taking you for a ride!
Mobility – It’s so ESSENTIAL that we get your back moving, and moving well, through all planes of movement as soon as possible so prevent further issues that you may face in the future from not using it! Have you ever had your arm or leg in a cast? How incredibly hard was it to bend your elbow/knee when you got it off? It was so STIFF and PAINFUL right? It’s the same with your neck, if you guard the movements, everything else around it will tighten up and then normal neck movements will BECOME RESTRICTED and PAINFUL!
Strength – I say it over and over, but that’s because no proper neck treatment can be complete without a strengthening program. In order to FIX YOUR NECK PAIN and prevent future issue, we need to work together to strengthen the muscles that support your neck. When your neck muscles are weak, they get tired easily and that makes them spasm and, what happens when muscles are overworked and spasm? You got it! They become painful! And contribute to YOUR NECK PAIN!
Initial assessment with a physiotherapist includes thorough discussion of the nature of your pain (where, type of symptoms, duration and intensity of symptoms) as well as a bit about you! We can’t help you get better if we don’t know what it is you want to get back to! So we will also discuss your work, physical activity and other life demands to determine what management you need to get back to those things stronger and more robust than before!
We will then conduct a thorough physical assessment. This will involve both hands on assessment from the therapist but also practical assessment. This will include things related to your specific history, for example: bending, twisting, lifting and definitely that exercise in the gym or work that gives you your pain.
We will also make sure we keep track of how things are changing and add or subtract things from your program when necessary to make sure you’re always getting the best care possible! We’ll provide you with a management plan to help you understand your condition and your path forward to become pain free!
Don’t delay your recovery – Take action today!
The occasional niggle or tightness may be nothing to worry about, but failing to pay attention to sharp or lingering pain may end up causing you a lot of problems in the future. If your neck pain is stopping you from doing what you normally love to do, then it is time to get it looked at by one of our experienced physiotherapists. In general, neck pain that is affecting your day to day life is a sign that something needs to be looked at.
Often we just assume things will get better by themselves or with enough rest, but this is rarely the case, so take action and get back to doing what you love as soon as possible!