Neck Pain Treatment

What is neck pain?

Neck pain is a term that relates to pain around the front, sides and back of the neck. Neck pain can sometimes coincide with pain being referred between the shoulder blades and down the arm/s. It can affect up to 70% of people at some time in their lives.

When neck pain is associated with arm pain, arm weakness and numbness of the skin, medical attention may be required. However, most neck and arm pain settle down within 2 weeks to 12 weeks. For a small group neck pain +/- arm pain can become persistent, distressing and disabling.

Common diagnostic terms associated with neck pain are whiplash, degenerative disc disease, neck arthritis, disc bulges and prolapses, canal stenosis, cervical radiculopathy and cervico-brachial pain.

Risk factors for neck pain:

Neck pain can develop as a result of a strain/injury such as whiplash. More commonly it can develop from sustained postural loading of neck and shoulders in combination with other factors such as chronic stress, poor sleep, anxiety, depressed mood and inactivity. This can result in sensitive muscles, joints and/or nerves in the neck, muscle tension and neck stiffness.

Treatment:

There is strong evidence that physiotherapy is effective as first line treatment of neck pain, neck and arm pain and persistent neck pain. Physiotherapists at Body Logic Physiotherapy can first help identify the main contributing factors associated with your neck / arm pain. Based on this they will develop a plan that may involve a range of strategies to assist with things such as relaxation of muscles, improving neck and upper limb mobility and strength. This may involve hands on therapies and will always involve exercise.

Other strategies known to be effective in treating neck pain include improving sleep, stress management and engaging in regular physical activity. In some cases where neck pain is distressing and disabling, working with other health care practitioners is important.