Neck pain; prevention and management

Neck pain occurs in the area of the cervical vertebrae in your neck. Because of its location and range of motion, your neck is often left unprotected and subject to injury when you suffer any of the following:

  • the neck becoming locked in an awkward position while sleeping
  • bad posture – for example, when sitting at a desk for a long time
  • a pinched nerve
  • an injury – for example, whiplash from a traffic accident or fall

Upon injury, your neck muscles become frail and the joint becomes difficult to move given that they’re slightly displaced. At that point, your body reacts with a protective spasm to prevent more injury, so it clenches, making movement feel impossible.” according to Dr. Andrew Bang of the Cleveland Clinic.

 

Often, the reasons for your pain are not due to any chronic underlying medical conditions but rather, as a result of mechanical imbalance from poor posture, accident, aging or birth defects.  Our physiotherapists evaluate your neck and spine biomechanics to determine the cause of your neck pain and manage the symptoms while finding a long-lasting cure cause of your injury. We may explore treatment options such as: 

  • Manual or Manipulative Therapy which might include passive or active treatment. 

Passive Treatments are mainly for relaxation and pain relief using methods such as Deep Tissue Massage, TENS,  Cold and Hot therapy. Cold Therapy reduces inflammation and pain by slowing blood circulation which helps to reduce pain. Heat Therapy increases blood flow thus improving oxygenation and nutrition in the area and gets rid of waste products.

 

Active Treatments require physical engagement of the patient and are oriented towards developing muscle strength

  • Exercise: Postural control exercise, such as Pilates or a home exercise program suggested by a physiotherapist, can help manage symptoms and prevent recurrence of pain (Gross et al., 2016).

Prevention of Neck Pain

  • When sleeping, make sure your head is the same height as the rest of your body
  • Use a firm mattress
  • Sit upright – roll your shoulders back gently and bring your neck back
  • Properly use telephones, computers, and other equipment.

Do exercises that improve your balance.

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