Factors that cause neck pain.

What’s giving you a pain in the neck?

Roadworks during peak hour. Screaming kids on flights (someone else’s, or worse, your own). The neighbours’ house alarm that goes off when they are on holiday. All the above are certified pains in the neck and unfortunately, there has been little research done into how best to prevent their occurrence.

Even worse than those figurative dilemmas, however, is actual neck pain, a condition which a large percentage of the Australian population experience regularly. So much of the movement necessary for daily life; whether driving, talking or working, depends upon having good mobility in the neck. But if you are one of the many people who suffer from neck pain, even the simplest actions result in stiffness, discomfort and prolonged headaches.

What causes Neck Pain?

A range of factors can cause neck pain, all of which affect the vertebrae, discs, muscles, cartilage and ligaments which support the head.

Poor posture, typically linked to hunching over a computer or smartphone screen, is responsible for the vast proportion of neck complaints. Sitting, slouching or slumping at a desk for an extended period puts pressure on ligaments and muscles and the discs in your neck, as does reading in bed or sleeping on your stomach. Did you know that the weight of your head while looking down at your phone can exert approximately 60lbs of force on your neck? That’s about 27kg!

Symmetry Physiotherapy Neck Pain

If you have ever experienced a sudden onset of pain when turning your head to the side, it’s possible that you have been suffering from a condition called ‘wry neck’. Brought on by sleeping in an awkward position, sudden jerking of the head or carrying heavy, unbalanced loads, this complaint causes temporary, acute pain and stiffness in the neck. A more serious version of this condition is whiplash, where the jerking of the head strains the soft tissues of the neck. While we commonly associate whiplash with car accidents, it is an injury that can also be sustained through paying contact sports.

Another major contributor to neck pain is a degenerative disease like arthritis. Like all joints in your body, the cartilage cushioning your vertebrae wears down with age, and the result contributes to the condition osteoarthritis. When the firm cushion between two bones deteriorates, affected individuals experience pain, stiffness and muscle weakness which make even gentle movements difficult.

Can you cure Neck Pain?

While there are no foolproof solutions to curing the pain in the neck, there is a lot you can do to prevent problems arising from your daily routine. Think about your posture when sitting or standing and make sure your desk is designed to help you sit comfortably. Regular exercise will improve muscle tone and posture, while also helping to work against the muscle-tightening effects of stress. If you have sustained an acute neck injury, it may be time to consult a qualified health professional for a course of soft tissue massage, mobilisation or manipulation. Taping problem spots can help support your posture, while a specific rehabilitation program of stretching and strengthening can promote greater stability in the neck and surrounding postural muscles.

By looking after the muscles, ligaments and joints in your neck you will help keep pain at bay, improving your ability to function day to day and allow you to deal with those other non-treatable pains in the neck like the roadworks and alarms.

Contact us today. Let us assess which options are best for you!

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The team at Symmetry Physiotherapy.