What is neck pain?
Neck pain is a broad condition that may occur acutely (e.g. pain for a short period of time), or present for a longer period of time (e.g. recurrent condition with repeated episodes). The Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study ranked the burden of neck pain as the 4th highest in terms of years lived with disability and ranked 21st of 291 conditions in terms of overall burden. When we treat neck pain, we must aim not only to resolve the acute episode to address immediate goals of pain relief, but also should work to prevent or limit recurrence for future quality of life.
Cause and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms may include
- Reduced range of motion when turning, flexing or bending the head and neck
- Sharp pain with movement
- Dull ache, that may be worse in the morning or after a period of immobility
- Stiffness, muscular tightness
- In some cases, referral of symptoms (pins and needles, numbness etc.) down the arms and into the hands and fingers
Effective management of individuals with neck pain is based on good communication, a thorough history and physical examination, and sound clinical reasoning in a patient-centred approach. In simpler terms, this just means treatment will be individualised to your own presentation, goals and lifestyle! Typically it will include a combination of hands on techniques plus guided mobility, stretching and strengthening exercises. We will also work together to develop self-management strategies so you are well equipped to manage small flare ups on your own, should they arise in the future.