Neck Pain (with/without Headaches)

What is neck pain?

Neck pain is a very common complaint. Neck pain can vary in the type and location of pain. Usually it’s located in the neck itself and can spread towards the top of the shoulders or the shoulderblades. Sometimes, but not always, it’s accompanied by headaches: a diffuse, mild to moderate pain in your head that’s often described as feeling like there’s a tight band around your head. This type of headache is called a tension-type headache and it’s the most common type.

Cause and Symptoms

The cause of neckpain can vary a lot too. For example the neck muscles can be strained from poor posture, overuse or a traumatic event. Osteoarthritis is also a common cause of neck pain. There are also a number of different diseases or conditions that may lead to pain/nerve compression.

Neck pain can also be a symptom of a more serious problem, however it’s rare. Do make sure to seek medical care if your neck pain is accompanied by numbness or loss of strength in your arms/hands, or if you experience shooting pain down the shoulder/arm.

Common signs and symptoms are:

  • Pain that’s often worsened by holding your head in one place for a long period of time
  • Muscle tightness and spasms
  • Decreased neck range of motion
  • Headaches
  • Feeling like the head is heavy (at the end of the day)

Treatment

To treat your neck pain it’s a good idea to contact your physiotherapist so they can help with releasing some tension in the neck and also give you a personalized treatment plan to get you back on track. The best thing you can do though is to take the right steps to prevent neck pain from coming on in the first place.

Here are some tips:

  • Try improving your posture when sitting or standing (check with your physio to see what applies to you/your body)
  • Take frequent breaks when sitting or standing a lot – move around!
  • Take a look at your mattress and pillow, make sure to sleep in a good position with the right head support
  • Avoid carrying heavy bags over one shoulder
  • Adjust your desk, chair and computer at work/home so that the monitor is at eye level and your arms are relaxed on the desk or chair’s armrests
  • Avoid tucking your phone between your ear and shoulder when calling




References:
1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/neck-pain/symptoms-causes/syc-20375581
2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tension-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20353977
3. https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/patient/conditions/neck-pain/neck-pain-overview