Treating Neck Pain with Physiotherapy

Cervical spondylosis

Spondylosis happens when the discs and the facet joints in the spine age. It’s caused by everyday use over many years and is quite normal as you get older.

The discs between the bones become thinner and the spaces between the bones narrower. Spurs of bone called osteophytes sometimes form at the edges of the bones and the facet joints. These changes can be seen in x-rays and are very similar to osteoarthritis, but in the neck they’re known as cervical spondylosis. These changes are part of a repair process where the body adapts to the wear that occurs as we age.

Spondylosis doesn’t always cause pain, but it may increase the risk of having spells of neck pain. Because neck pain tends to come and go, it’s not usually possible to identify spondylosis as a direct cause.

Occasionally when people have spondylosis:

  • The nerve roots may be irritated or pinched, either by bulging discs or osteophytes, sometimes causing pain or numbness
  • If the vertebral artery is pinched it can affect the blood supply to the brain, causing dizziness or blackouts.

Physiotherapy can be useful as they can advise on range of movement exercises and postural correction.

Whiplash

Whiplash is caused by your body being carried forward, causing your head to flip back. As your body stops, your head is thrown forwards. This happens most commonly in car accidents and sports injuries. It’s thought that the pain is caused by the capsule around the facet joints and the ligaments stretching, along with muscle spasm as your body tries to splint the injury. There’s often a delay before you feel any pain or stiffness from whiplash.

Most whiplash improves within a few weeks or months. Gentle exercises to keep your neck moving will help to prevent longer-term problems and get you back to normal as soon as possible.

Its important to reduce pain and restore normal movement as soon as possible.  Physioleeds can therefore offer you soft tissue massage to the site of injury and provide you with specific exercises to prevent the neck from stiffening up.

Slipped discs

A disc prolapse in your neck can cause neck pain which is usually associated with pain radiating down one arm, numbness, pins and needles, or weakness. This will often settle by having physiotherapy treatment.

Depending on the problem Physiotherapy treatment  techniques will include spinal joint mobilisations, soft tissue release, neural mobilisations, a programme of specific exercises and postural correction.

Torticollis

Torticollis means ‘twisted neck’. The neck becomes twisted to one side.

The cause of acute torticollis is often not known. It can happen in people with no previous neck symptoms. It is a common cause of neck pain in young people. There is usually no obvious injury.

However, it may be due to a minor sprain or irritation of a muscle or ligament in the neck. Some reasons for this include:

  • Sitting or sleeping in an unusual position without adequate neck support.
  • Poor posture when looking at a computer screen.
  • Carrying heavy unbalanced loads (for example, a briefcase or shopping bag).

It is common for people to go to bed feeling fine and to wake up the next morning with an acute torticollis.   It often improves within 24-48 hours. However, it may take up to a week for the symptoms to go completely.

The aim of treatment is to relieve the pain and try to reduce the stiffness in your muscles. Physiotherapy treatment from Physioleeds can prescribe you an exercise program to help keep your neck moving as normally as possible.

Book Physiotherapy for Neck Pain

PhysioLeeds Fit4Work, Bankside, 71 Breary Lane East, Bramhope, Leeds, LS16 9EU

PhysioLeeds Fit4Work, Trinity Fitness, Brownberrie Lane, Horsforth, Leeds, LS18 5HD