20 Sep A pain in the neck? Physiotherapy treatment and advice
The neck is a very mobile part of the body with many small joints and many muscles. This makes it more vulnerable to injury.
There a many reasons why someone may experience a ‘pain in the neck’, such as:
- Poor Posture – puts extra strain on the neck. The head weighs a lot!
- Stress – muscles tighten with stress.
- Clenching the jaw – also associated with stress. The part of the brain which modulates stress is closely associated with the jaw and the neck.
- Shallow breathing – breathing in the upper chest uses ‘accessory muscles’ which draw air into the lungs but also move the neck and shoulders. We need to breath more into the lower chest.
- Other reasons for neck pain are; arthritis, previous injury like ‘whiplash’ or ‘wry neck’ and more.
Simple exercises can be taught to counteract the physical effects of long hours at a computer, stress and shallow breathing such as correcting posture, ergonomic design of work set up, breathing exercises, specific and safe stretches , Yoga postures, and more
The physiotherapist at Crows Nest Physio Body and Sole can advise you on all of the above and tailor it to your body.
Headaches, shoulder and arm pain are often caused by pinched nerves in the neck.
The nerve may be compressed as it exits the spine between vertebrae (often due to poor posture or degenerative changes to the joints) or by tight muscles.
The muscles themselves may become trigger point active referring pain away from the neck. Massage, specific stretches, joint mobilisation and neural mobilisation techniques can help relieve nerve pain. The physio can teach you how to treat yourself in many cases.
Some suggestions on how to prevent posture-related neck pain include:
- Make sure your workstation is set up correctly
- Stretch and/or change your position regularly while working
- Correct your posture when standing and sitting- adjust your pelvic position, lift your sternum gently, nod your chin slightly and relax your shoulders
- Try not to sleep on your stomach (this position overextends and compresses the joints in your neck)
- Try to practice relaxation techniques such as breathing and stretch daily to alleviate muscle tightness
- Exercise regularly to improve your muscle support and posture