Neck pain (pain from the cervical spine) can be both debilitating and upsetting for anyone. This pain can last anywhere from days to months. At Power Physiotherapy we are always looking for ways to help our patients prevent neck pain. First some general information on neck pain:
What region of the spine is described as the neck?
This is the section of the spine referred to as ‘The Cervical Spine’. It has 7 vertebrae and is surrounded by many muscles supporting the neck to hold the head up on the body. In between the vertebrae are discs and spinal nerves.
Where do we feel neck pain?
Neck pain can present on one side or both sides. It can be specifically in one spot or widespread and extend further into the upper back and across into the shoulders. It can also present in different parts of the neck such as at the base of the skull, the middle section of the neck and even down into the lower part of the neck where it meets the upper back. Sometimes the neck can also refer pain down into the arm as far as the fingers, or up into the head presenting as a headache.
What causes neck pain?
Neck pain can come from several structures including the muscles, joints, ligaments, discs and nerves. Our Physiotherapists at Power Physiotherapy will assess you thoroughly and identify what is causing the pain.
Pain can be due to many things. Trauma such as from a car accident may cause whiplash type symptoms or a sports injury such as in contact sports can also sprain and strain on the neck muscles and joints.
Commonly posture can impact on our necks, such as sitting poorly at a desk, looking down at our devices for long periods of time or generally slouching without changing our position often.
So, what can we do? Here are the tips:
- Start with your posture: it’s ok to have poor posture (or not ideal posture) for short periods of time. Make your posture dynamic and change it up often. It’s just a matter of self correction.
- Don’t stay in the same position for too long: at Power Physiotherapy we advise our patients not to sit longer than 30-40 minutes without a change.
Any activity that you do such as working in the garden, cleaning the house, washing the car, do it in short bursts to avoid overloading the muscles.
- Listen to your body: Our bodies have its own built in alarm system. It tells us when there is too much strain or overload. However, if you ignore this alarm system, problems can present. Our bodies start to feel tired, tight, sore, uncomfortable. These are some of the warning signs. If you feel anything unusual or different during an activity, that’s your body telling you to change what you are doing, have a rest or go and do something else.
- Check your surroundings: Think about where you spend most of your time. If this is at work, then check that your desk, chair and computer are set up properly for you. If you are in a workshop, see if there is an easier way to do your tasks to reduce overloading your body. If it’s in the lounge room where you watch television, then make sure the television is in front of you instead of off to the side where you will have to keep your head turned to watch it. Little changes on how we do things make an big impact on our lives.
- Incorporate exercise into your life: Staying physically fit may help you avoid injury to the neck. At Power Physiotherapy we incorporate exercise in all our treatment regimes. We focus first on range of movement, so in the neck we make sure that you can move your neck fully in all directions. Next, we discuss ways that you can incorporate general fitness into your life such as walking, swimming, going to the gym or yoga class (or whatever exercise is your passion). General fitness helps you maintain strength and endurance so that you have the ability to do all the functions and tasks that you need in your day without getting tired and sore.
The final take home message from Power Physiotherapy is don’t ignore any symptoms that you may have in your neck. If you are feeling pain, tightness, restriction of movement or referred pain, see your Physiotherapist as soon as possible. The faster you seek treatment, the faster your symptoms will resolve.
At Power Physiotherapy we are highly experienced in the treatment of all neck issues and we are here to help you TODAY!