Neck pain (also known as cervical spine pain) is a very common condition affecting us today, especially with the increased use of mobile devices that require us to look down for prolonged periods of time. At Graceville Physio, our physiotherapists are experts in back and neck pain treatment, diagnosis, and rehabilitation.
You can read on to find out about common causes of different types of neck pain, conditions affected by stiff neck and shoulder muscles as well as simple exercises you can do to effectively treat most cases of neck pain.
If you’d like to seek further treatment and pain relief for chronic conditions, you can also call our clinic in Brisbane to speak with one of our specialists on (07) 3278 1186 or you can make a booking online.
Types of neck pain: Symptoms and causes
The neck and lower back tend to be the areas in which we experience the most pain because of the high amounts of movement and stress they endure each day. Pain in these areas can often be linked if the muscle structures supporting your spinal column from head to sacrum is affected by injury or if it is out of alignment for whatever reason. In our practice, all of our physiotherapists will do a full body evaluation as pain does not always originate from where you feel the symptoms.
While pains in the neck region are commonly associated with dull aching, there are instances where pain is worsened or sharpened when the head is turned quickly or too far in one direction. Stiffness at the base of the skull and tension in the shoulders, upper back or arms are also related to neck pain.
Other conditions which may spur on neck pain include:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Neck injury (such as muscle strain, whiplash, herniated disc or pinched nerve)
- Wry neck (may include a painfully twisted or tilted neck. May also include muscle spasms in affected region)
- Tension headaches (can go both ways with chronic neck pain leading to headaches and migraines)
- Neck pain can be a symptom of some infections and diseases (such as meningitis)
- Tooth grinding or toothaches
- Clenched jaw or unusual amounts of jaw action
- Lifestyle factors (see below)
- Chronic lower back pain
- Weak postural muscles supporting core and spine
- Musculoskeletal conditions affecting the muscles of the neck or upper back (such as fibromyalgia and polymyalgia rheumatica)
- Unsupported neck position during sleep
Pain associated with nerve damage or pinching feels different to pain associated with the musculoskeletal structure. Any burning, tingling or numb sensations in the neck are most likely related to a pinched nerve or damaged nerve pathways. These sensations can also commonly travel down one side of the neck, shoulder and arm.
You can also check out this article for more reasons why we tend to get back or neck pain.
Lifestyle factors contributing to neck pain
Most episodes of acute neck pain are attributed to muscle strain or damage to other soft tissues (such as ligaments and tendons). There are however lifestyle influences that contribute to pain in the neck as well. The damage caused by these can often go unnoticed for long periods of time until, eventually, the pain becomes a chronic occurrence.
Strain from carrying heavy items with one arm can often contribute to pain on one side of the neck and shoulders. Carrying a heavy suitcase or an uneven weight distribution of your shopping bags are common examples. Also, the way we sleep can oftentimes lead to strain on one side of the neck.
Given the tendency for a sedentary lifestyle across the board, too much time spent sitting down can lead to neck pain as well, especially if you are constantly looking down at a screen or mobile device. The lack of correct posture and weakness in postural muscles supporting the spine are also contributing factors. At Graceville Physio, we call the onset of pain from such activities ‘Tech Neck’.
Angela, our lead physiotherapist, was interviewed by Channel 9 about the topic of Tech Neck, check out what she has to say here:
If you’re looking for Tech Neck relief, you could try out some of these stretches and strengthening exercises:
At Graceville Physio, we also offer neck pain treatment programs to combat the effects of Tech Neck and prevent pain as much as possible. These programs can be completed in the practice as well as at home.
Neck Pain Treatment
Despite the vast array of causes for neck pain, there are a number of effective exercises and treatments you can look into for long term pain relief.
At Graceville Physio, we offer a combination of treatments tailored to your needs. These include:
- Dry needling
- Postural correction
- Natural therapies (including hot/cold therapy and heat compresses)
- Mobilisation techniques
- Exercises for relieving pain and strengthening neck muscles
For some exercises you can try at home check out these videos:
Tension and headache relief:
Looking for chronic neck pain relief or further options?
Our highly qualified team are dedicated to finding the reason for your pain and not just treating the symptoms. Our physiotherapists treat your body as a whole. It is important to have a holistic approach to your health care.
Once the reason for your back or neck pain is established, a plan can be drawn up to firstly decrease your pain and then to work on correcting the cause of pain. If your pain is coming from poor posture, an exercise program as well as a soft tissue maintenance program would be of benefit. We are interested in not only getting rid of your pain but having you pain free for life.
If you’re seeking effective neck pain treatments or to speak with one of our specialists about how physiotherapy can help you relieve your pain, call our Brisbane clinic on (07) 3278 1186 or book a consultation online.