Neck pain is a very common problem affecting your ability to perform your daily activities. Suffering from a sore or stiff neck can affect many areas of your life including work, recreation and sleep health. Often neck pain is caused by postural problems, wear and tear of the joints or injury. Sometimes the muscles may become tight or weak, leading to neck pain. Neck pain can also cause headaches when left untreated.
The Causes of Neck Pain
Your head is held up by seven bones called vertebrae and their supporting muscles. The vertebrae are separated by discs (shock absorbers), connected by joints and constrained and stabilised by ligaments. The most common causes of neck pain are injury, poor posture, stiffness and weakness. Other common causes of neck pain include degeneration of the discs and arthritis.
Poor posture can lead to neck pain. Muscles can become fatigued; ligaments may be overstretched and the nerves can be put under pressure. Common postural problems which lead to neck pain include: sleeping with the head in an awkward position, slouching with the head pushed forwards and working with the head down for extended periods of time.
Injuries to the neck are often caused by work accidents, sports and vehicle accidents. A very common neck injury is the acceleration-deceleration injury where the head is thrown forward and back. This is also known as ‘whiplash’. Damage can occur in the joints, nerves, discs, vertebrae, muscles or ligaments.
How to Prevent Neck Pain
Maintaining good posture is a good way to prevent neck pain. Often people have trouble knowing what this means and/or have trouble maintaining it due to stiffness or weakness. When doing repetitive tasks or spending long periods in front of screens it can help to keep the shoulders relaxed, the head level, chest lifted and the chin tucked in. When sleeping it is advised to ensure your pillow keeps you in a comfortable position as awkward positions for prolonged periods places stress on the joints, muscles and ligaments.
Exercise is another way to prevent neck pain. By keeping the muscles strong and the joints mobile, this can help to maintain good posture and prevent injury that may lead to neck pain.
Treatment for Neck Pain
Physio for neck pain is a very effective treatment for both neck pain and headaches. The most effective form of treatment will depend on the reason behind your neck pain. Your physio is highly skilled at diagnosing and treating many causes of neck pain.
Often neck pain comes from problems with the neck joints and muscles. This is treated with a combination of neck joint and muscle treatments, such as strengthening exercises joint manual therapy and dry needling. Physio for neck pain and headaches can also include acupuncture, massage, manipulation and exercises.
Neck pain can affect many areas of your life, and also lead to headaches when left untreated. The neck can be easily irritated by posture problems and injury. By maintaining good posture and keep the surrounding muscles strong, you can reduce the risk of pain or injury. However, physio for neck pain is an effective treatment option for neck pain and associated symptoms such as headaches. For more information, contact a physio near you today.