Neck discomfort is common in the present day, considering that we spend a lot of time in postures that strain our necks. For example, simply sitting in front of a computer for hours or looking down at a smart phone or tablet can aggravate and cause neck pain.
One of the most common causes of neck pain is a muscle strain, injury or sprain to the soft tissue in the neck. This can be caused by sleeping in an awkward or uncomfortable position, sitting with poor posture, a sudden force through the neck (such as whiplash from a sudden movement or whipping your head around too quickly) or even from lifting a heavy object incorrectly.
These types of neck injuries are just a few of the causes of neck pain, and are all best treated by way of gentle stretching, as well as care provided by a registered massage therapist, at a physiotherapy Vancouver clinic or by visiting a chiropractor.
Not Only Posture Related
Neck pain is not always the result of poor posture or from sustaining an injury – it can also be a result of degenerative conditions such as arthritis or disc lesions. Degenerative changes are a natural part of aging – it’s the result of general wear and tear on our bodies over time.
Thanks to genetics and certain environmental factors, sometimes these degenerative conditions are more severe than others, particularly if you’re susceptible to injury. Thankfully, physiotherapy treatments are very effective at resolving the pain associated with degenerative changes. In a physio session, your specialist will focus on restoring mobility in the neck joints, and loosening tight muscles, while working on strengthening the neck muscles.
Sometimes neck pain can extend down the arm and into the hand, and is usually caused by extra pressure on the neck nerves that communicate to the arm and hand. Once this nerve pressure is relieved, arm pain can be reduced. In many cases this nerve pressure is from a bulging or herniated disc in the neck.
This type of injury can also be managed by treatments such as massage or physiotherapy, but in rare circumstances may require surgery. It is important to be patient with your treatment and not to rush into any surgical interventions as they may not be necessary – remember that treatment for this type of injury can take many months to see the full effects.
In the meantime, talk to your physician or sports medicine doctor about any medications that can help with you with the pain.
Neck pain can sometimes cause cervicogenic headaches. These can be very painful and sometimes debilitating. Thankfully, physiotherapy and massage treatment focusing on neck joint and muscle mobility can help greatly. More importantly, reducing poor postures and stretching your neck muscles regularly can help prevent this from recurring.
Be sure to call your doctor immediately if any of the following occur:
• You’re experiencing severe night pain, night sweats, unexplained weight change, fevers
• You’ve had blunt trauma to the neck
• You have little to no range of motion in the neck
• Extremely intense, severe neck pain or stiffness
• Weakness, numbness/tingling in the arms
• Dizziness, nausea, double vision, trouble speaking or trouble swallowing
• History cancer, HIV, TB or inflammatory arthritis
• A body rash