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Pain / Condition

Neck PainNeck shoulder pain

Next to Low Back Pain, Neck Pain is the most common condition we treat or reason for presentation to our clinic.  The causes are many and varied (as listed below) yet they almost all respond to Physiotherapy, especially if you get a practitioner who listens,  takes the time to assess properly and delivers expert hands on treatment.     It is common for patients suffering from Neck Pain to also experience Shoulder Pain (which can be nerve related or pain radiating from “knots” in the surrounding muscles) and Headache.  If this is the case for you, don’t be shy, let us know, as it may be related.

Pain in the neck can be sudden or gradual.  Sudden onset neck pain often occurs in individuals involved with contact sports, motor vehicle accidents, heavy lifting, bending forward or sideways, twisting of the neck, or, combinations of these movements. It is also relatively common for patients to experience sudden onset neck pain during a trivial bending movement, such as during sneezing. These acute injuries usually involve tearing of connective tissue around the joints of the neck and often have associated muscle spasm. One of the most common causes of sudden or gradual onset neck pain (with or without pain radiating into the upper back, shoulder, upper arm, elbow, forearm, wrist or hand or headache), is a Cervical Disc Bulge.  Facet Joint Sprains and Acute Wry Neck are other common causes of sudden onset neck pain.

Gradual onset neck pain often occurs in those patients involved in computer work, repetitive or prolonged bending, slouching (especially when sitting or during sleep), shoulders forwards, lifting, twisting movements or combinations of these activities. In older patients with gradual onset neck pain, one of the most likely causes of symptoms is degenerative changes in the spine (i.e. Neck Arthritis).

We CAN Help!

Your Physio at OFP will be able to determine the likely cause of your neck pain from your history and physical examination and most patients will recover fully from a short course of physiotherapy.  We are also highly skilled in determining whether the cause of your neck pain is mechanical in origin which means we will be able to fix it or flag those causes which are beyond the normal scope and we will then likely send you for tests such as X-rays, MRI scans etc and may recommend other health professionals get involved to find the exact cause of your symptoms if it is chronic or severe.

Call one of our Friendly staff today on 3470 1203 to experience healthcare that cares and get that neck sorted!

 

Symptoms of neck pain

Do you suffer any of these?….

Muscle spasm

A spasm is a sudden, powerful, involuntary contraction of muscles. The muscles feel painful, stiff and knotted. If you have neck muscle spasms, you may not be able to move your neck — sometimes people call it a crick in the neck. Your doctor or physiotherapist may call it acute torticollis or wry neck.

Muscle ache

The neck muscles are sore and may have hard knots (trigger points) that are tender to touch. Pain is often felt up the middle of the back of the neck, or it may ache on one side only.

Stiffness

The neck muscles are tight and if you spend too long in one position they feel even tighter. Neck stiffness can make it difficult or painful to move your neck.

Nerve pain

Pain from the neck can radiate down the arms, and sometimes, the legs. You may feel a sensation of pins and needles or tingling in your arms, which can be accompanied by numbness, burning or weakness. This pain is typically worse at night.

Headaches/ Migraine

Headaches are common in conjunction with neck problems. They are usually a dull aching type of headache, rather than sharp pain. While the headaches are often felt at the back of the head, the pain may also radiate to the sides, and even the front of the head.

Reduced range of motion

If you can’t turn your head to the side to the same degree towards each shoulder, or you feel limited in how far forward you can lower your head to your chest, or how far you can tilt your head back, you may have reduced range of motion. Your doctor will be able to test this.

Creptius – clicking, grinding, clunking noises

Crepitus can be common with neck problems. It can associated with or without pain when it makes the “noise” that you may get and is often not pathological but rather a sequel to the stiffness, instability or incongruence of the joints and tightness of the muscles that causes the sounds.  They can however give the therapist more information about “what” maybe going on in your neck so be sure to mention this symptom if you notice it.

Common causes of neck pain

Poor Posture

Part of the overall picture of postural syndrome, computers, driving and other western work postures that are usually prolonged or static postures can cause flattening of the neck curve, overuse and fatigue of your neck muscles, joint stiffness, poor blood flow leading to stiffness and pain.

Whiplash

This commonly follows a car accident in which the person’s car is hit from behind while it is stationary or slowing down. The person’s head is first thrown backwards and then when their body stops moving, the head is thrust forward. This type of injury can strain your neck muscles and cause ligaments in the neck to stretch or tear.

The pain from whiplash, which is usually worse with movement, does not always start immediately — it may take several days to come on. Neck pain and stiffness may be accompanied by muscle spasm, dizziness, headaches, nerve pain and shoulder pain.

Muscle fatigue, strain, overactivity

Ongoing overuse of your neck muscles (which can be caused by a poor neck position during everyday activities, particularly computer work) can trigger neck muscle strain, causing chronic neck pain and stiffness. The pain is often worse with movement and may be associated with headaches, muscle spasms and restriction of neck movements.

Degenerative Disc Disease

As we grow older, the soft gelatinous centre of the shock-absorbing discs in our spines dries out. This causes the discs to become narrowed, and the distance between the vertebrae to decrease.

Herniated Disc

If the tough outside layer of one of the cervical discs tears, the soft gelatinous centre may bulge outwards — this is known as a herniated disc. Herniated discs can put pressure on nerve roots as they leave the spinal cord, causing pain in the neck as well as pain, numbness and weakness in the arms.

Cervical Spondylosis

This degenerative condition of the cervical spine is due to normal ageing and wear and tear on the cervical discs and the vertebrae. It is also known as cervical osteoarthritis, and is more common among older people.

The development of bone spurs often accompanies this degeneration of the spine. Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, are small outgrowths of bone tissue that are formed when the cartilage covering bone is worn away and bone starts to rub on adjacent bone. The bone spur is the body’s attempt to protect the bone surface. Unfortunately, the bone spur can sometimes pinch or press upon the nerve roots as they leave the spinal canal.

Symptoms associated with cervical spondylosis include neck pain and stiffness that often improves with rest. The pain may radiate to the shoulders or between the shoulder blades. If there is nerve root compression, there may be numbness, pain or weakness in the arms.

Cervical Stenosis (Canal or Foramenal)

The word stenosis simply means “narrowing”.  Degenerative changes in the vertebrae can lead to narrowing of the canal in which your spinal cord or nerve roots lie — this is known as cervical stenosis. As the canal becomes narrower, it can put pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. The associated neck pain is usually worse with activity, and may radiate to the arms or legs. Arm or leg weakness can also occur. Sometimes people with cervical spinal canal or foramenal stenosis have no symptoms. Occasionally, it may give rise to Lhermitte’s sign — an electric shock-like feeling down the body when the neck is bent forward.

We CAN Help!

Your Physio will be able to determine the likely cause of your neck pain from your history and physical examination and most patients will recover fully from a short course of physiotherapy.  We are also highly skilled in determining whether the cause of your neck pain is mechanical in origin which means we will be able to fix it or flag those causes which are beyond the normal scope and we will then likely send you for tests such as X-rays, MRI scans etc and may recommend other health professionals get involved to find the exact cause of your symptoms if it is chronic or severe.

Call one of our Friendly staff today on 3470 1203 to experience healthcare that cares and get that neck sorted!

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