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Neck

Neck symptoms include different types of pain including sharp, shooting, burning, throbbing or stabbing pains and can be constant or intermittent – i.e. come and go. You may also be getting pins and needles, tingling, weakness, numbness, other strange sensations or pain in one or both arms and hands. Neck problems can also cause headaches and migraines along with pain in the upper back and shoulder blade.

Your symptoms can be caused from a series of structures ranging from a simple muscle strain to a facet joint or disc injury. We will assess your neck and advise you on which structures are causing your pain, as well as how to treat the cause of the problem. Please scroll down to learn more about certain types of neck pain and injury.

If you fell, had an accident or the pain came on suddenly then you may have torn a ligament, cartilage, disc or even suffered a fracture, you need to get the neck assessed by a Physiotherapist or Osteopath immediately. Even if you have not had a traumatic injury it is essential that you get pain and other symptoms assessed by a Physiotherapist or Osteopath so that you do not do further damage.

If you have a clicking neck, please click on the link to learn more about what the causes of a clicking neck could be.

How the Neck Works

The neck is part of the spine and consists of similar structures as lower down in the spine. It is made up of vertebral bones stacked on top of each other like little building blocks with discs in between each of them. In children these discs are gel-like, but as the years go by they lose water and become more solid, which can contribute to stiffening of the neck. The vertebral bones have little prominences that stick out either side that form joints called “facets”. The spinal cord runs through the middle of the vertebrae in the neck, and if damage occurs at this level it can cause paralysis and loss of sensation from the neck down. There is also a network of blood vessels, a complex system of soft tissues, fascia (the body’s inside skin) cartilage and ligaments along with layers of muscles of different shapes and sizes.

These muscles can be divided broadly into the deep stability muscle sand the big movement muscles like sternocleidomastoid and the trapezius.

The nerves exiting through small holes between each vertebra in the neck carry sensory and motor information to the finger tips and the head, and if irritated or damaged can cause pain, reduced sensation, pins and needles or weakness in the arms and head. Therefore migraines and headaches can often be alleviated by treating the neck.

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    Common Injuries

  • Neck Pain/Tightness

    Mild neck pain and/or tightness that comes on slowly is commonly due to the upper back rounding forwards and the chin pointing forwards and upwards, which increases muscle and nerve tension and may cause pins and needles or pain in the arms and hands. Sometimes, breathing becomes restricted due to...

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  • Cervical disc injury

    Cervical disc problems include degeneration, disc bulges or disc prolapses.If the discs in the neck become damaged they can bulge out and irritate or pinch the nerves coming out of the neck or the spinal cord itself. This clearly has serious implications, however can often be treated successfully with physiotherapy...

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  • Post-Operative Neck

    The complexity of the neck, the amount we use it for day-to-day activities, the degree of strain we put it through during training and sports, and the fact that we often use it inefficiently through poor posture and insufficiently strong deep stability muscles, all this can lead to many different...

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  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    We often find that this is over diagnosed and that often the arm and hand pain (and weakness) is actually being caused by a tendinopathy that is fully treatable with physiotherapy. However, true carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by irritation of the median nerve that runs though the wrist joint...

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  • Clicking Neck

    Clicking or crunching in the neck can be caused by a number of things. Most people fear that the clicking is caused by bone hitting bone. However, thankfully nowadays this is rare. If you have this it is likely that for many years you have been suffering severe pain and...

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  • Stiff Thoracic Spine

    The thoracic spine – middle and upper part of the back - is the stiffest part of the spine due to the ribs attaching here, but it commonly becomes too stiff as a result of poor postures. Please click here to learn correct sitting posture. Thoracic spine stiffness puts more...

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  • Shoulder exercises

    There are a variety of exercises that are great for your shoulders including: 1) Train shoulder posture 2) Train your scapular stabilizers 3) Train serratus anterior muscle 4) Stretch the lats (latissimus dorsi) muscles 5) Train the rotator cuff muscles

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  • Thoracic spine exercises

    Please ask your Physiotherapist or Osteopath to show you how!

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  • Correct your neck posture

    Please read how the neck works before reading the following. The effect of gravity on the head is that it moves down and forwards, away from the body. As a result of the head being lowered it then has to be rotated upwards in order to look straight forwards not...

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  • Stretching

      A note on static stretching v dynamic stretching I bet you can't remember the last time you saw elite athletes doing a static stretches pitch-, track- or court side pre-performance. That is because research now shows that static stretching is not advisable before exercise. This is because it slows...

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  • Release the thoracic spine

  • How to find pelvic neutral

    Please click here to learn how the back works before reading the following. Do not do the following if you have any back pain- you must see a Physiotherapist or Osteopath for a full assessment, diagnosis and guidance through the exercise. Please click on the link to learn how to...

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About Your Injury

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