Neck Pain

Neck pain or a stiff neck is a very common complaint that can have a big impact on everyday life both at work, in leisure and even sleeping at night. It is often prevalent in people who work in front of computer screens for long periods, possibly due to poor posture. The complaint may present as a sharp neck pain, dull muscular aches, headaches, stiffness and restricted movement or even referred pain down the arm.

The principal structures involved are the vertebral and intervertebral discs, ligaments, joints, muscles and nerve roots. Usually the neck joints (cervical spine) become stiff or even locked. This in turn usually causes protective muscle spasm of some neck and shoulder muscles and weakness of others.

The human body is very good at adapting and will adjust itself so that other joints or muscles around the area work harder than they should. Whilst this is usually fine in the short term it can have a debilitating effect in the long term and the result is often chronic neck pain, neck stiffness, headaches or tension type migraine. The longer this abnormal scenario exists, the harder it is to reverse the habit.

A Manipulative Physiotherapist is highly skilled at the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical neck pain. However, they understand that neck pain is not solely about joints and not solely about neck muscles. There are many variables that the physiotherapist will assess and correct if needed. New research has shown that a combination of neck joint and muscle treatment performed by a physiotherapist and some specific strengthening, stretching and mobility exercises are an effective way to eliminate neck pain, stiffness as well as headaches.