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Neck Pain

Neck pain is a common reason people visit their doctor. Neck pain typically doesn't start from a single injury. Instead, the problem usually develops over time from the stress and strain of daily activities. Eventually, the parts of the spine begin to degenerate. The degeneration or disc herniation can become a source of neck pain.

Neck Pain

Cause of neck pain

There are many causes of neck pain. Most neck problems happen after years of wear and tear on the parts of the cervical spine. At first these small injuries are not painful. But over time they can add up. As the degeneration and subluxation continues, bone spurs develop in the joint. These bone spurs can cause problems by pressing on the nerves of the spine. This pressure around the irritated nerve roots can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the neck, arms, and hands.

Another reason for people experience neck pain is muscle strain. The muscles have been pulled or injured may cause neck pain due to repetitive motion of neck muscles. Other than that, the problem may be coming from irritation or injury in other spine tissues, such as the disc or ligaments. When this happens, the neck muscles may go into spasm and patient might feel pain and sore in these areas.

Symptoms of neck pain

Symptoms from neck problems vary. They depend on your condition and which neck structures are affected. Some of the more common symptoms of neck problems are:

  1. neck pain
  2. headaches
  3. pain spreading into the upper back or down the arm
  4. neck stiffness and reduced range of motion
  5. muscle weakness in the shoulder, arm, or hand
  6. sensory changes (numbness, prickling, or tingling) in the forearm, hand, or fingers

How does physiotherapist treat my neck pain?

First we will examine the posture and alignment of your neck, shoulders, and upper back as well as check your neck and associated muscle flexibility and strength. Our physiotherapist will feel your neck to determine if the joints in your neck are stiff or loose and to determine which areas around your neck, shoulders, face and scalp are tender or painful. Then we will teach you a correct posture to stand and sit and ensure you are aware of the posturing positions that may contribute to your headache pain or related symptoms. In some cases modalities such as ice, heat, ultrasound, traction may be used to ease your neck pain or other related symptoms. If your pain is severe, we may recommend a soft neck collar to keep your neck still for short periods of time. Resting the muscles and joints can help calm pain, inflammation, and muscle spasm.

Exercise for neck pain

Exercise 1: Seated Neck Release

This gentle stretch targets the sides of your neck.

  1. Sit on the floor in a cross-legged position or in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Extend your right arm next to your right knee or along the right side of the chair. Place your left hand on the top of your head and slowly tilt your head to the left. Apply gentle pressure with your hand to increase the stretch.
  3. To feel a deeper stretch, you can hold onto your right knee or the seat of the chair. This stabilizes the torso and allows you to isolate the stretch on the side of your neck.
  4. Hold on this side for 30 seconds, then slowly lift your head up and repeat this stretch on the other side. Do this exercise 3 times per set, 3 sets per day.

Exercise 2: Behind the Back Neck Stretch

This standing stretch can be done anywhere, and will offer a deep stretch in the sides of your neck.

  1. Stand with your feet hip distance apart, arms by your sides.
  2. Reach both hands behind your backside, and hold onto your left wrist with your right hand. Use your right hand to gently straighten your left arm and pull it away from you slightly.
  3. To increase the stretch in your neck, slowly lower your right ear toward your shoulder.
  4. Stay here for 30 seconds and then switch sides. Do this exercise 3 times per set, 3 sets per day.

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