A number of patients present to our clinics with complaints of chronic neck pain or discomfort. Commonly accompanied with very limited range to one side and headaches to either the base of the skull or spilling over the top of the head to the temple region.
A lot of the time, patients will complain of sleeping on their neck badly and waking up with symptoms in the morning. It is hypothesized that during sleep there is increased inflammation and with the lack of movement occurring as you sleep, this can potentially cause an issue for the effected regions of the neck or shoulder.
The cause of chronic neck pain - Most people with chronic neck pain do not have any damage to their spine. The pain comes from the muscles, ligaments and joints. More persistent neck pain may also be associated with arthritis of the facet joints and degeneration of the discs.
The most common cause of chronic neck pain in the neck is due to dysfunction of the facet joints. These are the small articulation joints at the back of the spine. When one of the joints becomes irritated it usually results is muscle spasm in the area. Pain may be caused by either the primary facet joint irritation or the secondary muscle spasm or a combination of the two.
Facet joint irritation may result from trauma, such as a whiplash injury or from being held in sustained positions, such as when painting a ceiling or with postural conditions.
In a large number of cases, chronic neck pain is caused from a misalignment in posture, which places the neck under an increased load.
These areas have most likely been under increase stress/load over a period of time, possibly due to the increased hours you have been doing at your desk, or poor posture on the couch! In saying this, posture, correct activation and stabilisation of your neck and shoulders is unparalleled in reducing neck and shoulder pain episodes.
We use a combination of soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation, dry needling and exercise prescription, concentrating on fine movements with correct muscle activation. In acute phases a referral to your general practitioner may be required for the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory’s.
The aim and desired outcome from these treatments
How you can help your neck