Updated: Jan 11
The neck is particularly prone to injury due to it being in a very exposed region, plus the fact that people move their necks around a lot throughout the day. It’s very common for people to experience pain in their neck at some point throughout their lives, and usually, it is simply due to a muscle strain or some other benign cause that resolves with time. However, if the pain persists, or is severe, then it’s time to see a doctor and physiotherapy, preferably one who specializes in matters of the spine/neck.
What Causes Neck Pain?
Degeneration/Wear & Tear
As with all parts of the body, the elements in the neck will wear away as we age, causing pain and stiffness in the neck.
Other degenerative conditions that cause neck pain include cervical fractures, cervical disc degeneration, arthritis, and inflammation.
Bad Posture/Sleeping Position
Being hunched over all day or falling asleep with insufficient or improper support for the head and neck can cause one to wake up feeling sore in the neck.
Whiplash (Sudden Jolt to the Neck)
When the head is suddenly thrown forward (usually during a car accident or sport), it causes the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck to potentially stretch and tear.
Brachial Plexus Injury
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves responsible for sensation in the arm and hand, and any injury to these nerves can cause weakness, immobility, or loss of sensation.
A pinched nerve, also known as cervical radiculopathy, is when nerve irritation in the spinal cord in the neck causes pain and weakness in the arm as well.
Common causes of a pinched nerve include a prolapsed disc and arthritis of the neck.
Stress & Tension
This can cause muscles around the head, neck, and back of the shoulder to tense up, causing a sensation of tightness and pain.
This may include rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, serious injury, damage to the vertebrae and spine, infections, and other bone disorders.
Treatment: Physiotherapy for Neck & Shoulders
Once a diagnosis can be confirmed by an experienced medical doctor, then a trained Physiotherapist can provide an additional assessment to create a treatment plan that will help you to strengthen your neck & shoulder muscles for good posture and coach you on neck & shoulder exercises that will not hurt your upper back.