Neck Pain and Physiotherapy – how can we help?

 

Neck pain is a significant problem for Australian adults, especially amongst people who perform office based work (Hoy, Protani, De, & Buchbinder, 2010).

There are a wide range of causes for neck pain, however most neck pain is mechanical in nature (Bier, et al., 2018). Posture, particularly for office workers, or people who spend a large amount of time sitting is a leading cause of mechanical neck pain. The posture of our spine is integral to managing neck pain, as a slumped or forward head posture puts strain on muscles, joints, discs and connective tissues in our cervical spine. With the lower cervical discs, and upper cervical facet joints being at risk of adverse strain in a prolonged slumped sitting posture.

Manual jobs, particularly those involving significant amounts of overhead tasks or lifting are another risk factor for the development of neck pain. For example, employment as an electrician often results in repeated compressive and stressful loads through the neck due to the positions the worker often finds themselves in. Such loads and stressors have a tendency to create damage over time, with neck pain in this instance the result of inflammation and damage to cervical facet joints. It is thus important to maintain ideal biomechanics to minimise stress on the Cervical spine when it is under additional load (Australian Pain Management Association, 2014).

Inappropriate load and technique during exercise is also a common cause of neck pain and ensuring ideal biomechanics during exercise is something that a physiotherapist can assist with. Accurate diagnosis of an injury is important to direct rehabilitation and avoid further harm.

A physiotherapist can assess your neck and spine to determine the source of your neck pain and can significantly reduce the duration of symptoms through the use of manual therapy and/or exercise. Manual therapy (ie. Massage, joint mobilisation) is useful for releasing muscle spasm, improving flexibility and range of movement, and reducing the level of pain (Bier, et al., 2018). Postural control exercise such as Pilates or a Physiotherapist prescribed home exercise program is a useful way to manage symptoms and reduce the recurrence of pain (Gross, et al., 2016).
Whether neck pain is caused by prolonged postural issues, acute workplace or exercise related injuries, physiotherapy is a useful method of settling pain faster, and ensuring that you are well-equipped to avoid further episodes of injury and pain.

 

For more information on how we treat neck pain, click here.

 

References
Australian Pain Management Association. (2014, 11 13). Neck Pain. Retrieved from https://www.painmanagement.org.au/2014-09-11-13-34-03/2014-09-11-13-35-16/273-what-is-causing-my-neck-pain.html
Bier, J., Scholten-Peeters, W., Staal, J., Pool, J., van Tulder, M., Beekman, E., . . . Verhagen, A. (2018). Clinical Practice Guideline for Physical Therapy Assessment and Treatment in Patients with Nonspecific Neck Pain. Physical Therapy, 98(3), 162-171.
Gross, A., Paquin, J., Dupont, G., Blanchette, S., Lalonde, P., Cristie, T., . . . Bronfort, G. (2016). Exercises for Mechanical Neck Disorders: A Cochrane Review Update. Manual Therapy, 24, 25-45.
Hoy, D., Protani, R., De, R., & Buchbinder, R. (2010). The Epidemiology of Neck Pain. Clinical Rheumatology, 24(6), 783-792.

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