Physio for Neck Pain and Injuries
Neck pain is one of the most common conditions treated by Physio’s. Neck pain can be frustrating and cause uncomfortable symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, sharp pain and even affect the movement of the head. There are many causes of neck pain, which should always be diagnosed professionally before beginning treatment. Some of these causes include:
Poor posture: Poor posture can cause neck pain or aggravate existing neck pain. You can reduce the strain on the neck by maintaining good posture during activities such as watching TV, reading, working and sleeping. Sometimes it isn’t clear what good posture should be for certain tasks so professional advice can help. Also, at times good posture can’t be maintained and advice is required on exercises that will help.
Poor muscle control: this may cause poor neck function and fatigue. By strengthening the neck muscles, it may help to reduce any problems.
Overuse: overusing the neck structures can put extra stress on the muscles, such as performing repetitive tasks. This can include activities such as painting, sports, gardening, work activities and lifting. To avoid this, try breaking up repetitive activities to avoid overuse.
Injury: a neck injury such as whiplash can cause a variety of issues affecting the joints, muscles, ligaments, nerves, bones and discs.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a result of a sudden acceleration-deceleration force on the neck, such as during a car accident causing injury. There are other causes such as bungy jumping, roller coasters and sports collisions.
While the symptoms of whiplash can vary significantly between people, the most common are neck pain and stiffness. The symptoms occurs either immediately after the injury or up to several days later. Whiplash symptoms include:
- Neck pain
- Neck stiffness
- Shoulder, arm or back pain
- Hearing or vision issues
- Difficulty swallowing or speaking
- Irritability or difficulty concentrating
Physiotherapy for whiplash is very effective. A thorough spinal examination will determine the exact location of the neck pain and an x-ray, MRI or CT scan may be required to fully assess any damage. A whiplash neck injury treatment consists of stabilising the neck, reducing inflammation and easing pain. Studies show that recovery is faster when regular neck exercises are performed, and by keeping your neck active rather than resting it in a collar for long periods of time.
Physio for whiplash aims to:
- Normalise the neck’s range of motion
- Reduce pain and inflammation
- Strengthen the neck muscles
- Improve neck posture
- Strengthen the upper back muscles
- Normalise muscle length
- Reduce the chance of future neck problems
To assist with easing your neck pain your physio will develop strategies to restore your neck function. These might include gently mobilising your spine as well as providing other manual therapy and specific exercises. Physiotherapy is an effective neck injury treatment with the majority of patients experiencing some improvement within the first week.
Just like the symptoms and severity of whiplash vary from person to person, the recovery time also varies. It may take anywhere from a few days to several months to completely recover under guided treatment. However, research shows that the majority of people with whiplash injuries recover well under professional treatment. For more information on whiplash treatment contact the trusted team at Integrity Physio.