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.
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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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...Read More
The nerves and blood vessels that exit through the neck supply the head, so headaches can be caused by neck problems. We see many patients whose long standing headaches or migraines we have successfully treated with hands on treatment of the neck and corrective exercises for the neck and shoulders.Read More
Pain behind the shoulder, behind or around the shoulder blade and/or in your upper back/neck is not strictly speaking a shoulder problem because the pain is probably coming from the back or neck. However, lots of people refer to it as shoulder pain because thats where the discomfort is felt....Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
The complexity of the shoulder joint, the amount we use it for day to day activities and the degree of strain we put through it during training and sports can result in conditions that need surgery. Sometimes repair of damaged structures is necessary where rehab alone will not resolve the...Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
Please click here to read how the shoulder works before reading the following. It is essential to reposition the shoulder joint correctly, which you must do under the guidance of a physiotherapist to make sure you dont do more damage. The most common incorrect position is the shoulderblade being held...Read More
Please ask your Physiotherapist or Osteopath to show you how!Read More
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 musclesRead More
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