Neck Pain: What is it? What causes it? How it can be treated?
Neck pain is one of the most commonly treated musculoskeletal complaints in primary care and it can be disabling to varying degrees. Research shows that two-thirds of the population will suffer from neck pain at some stage in their life, more commonly in middle age and with women being generally more affected than men (Arthritis Research UK, 2011).
What is it?
Neck pain is, of course, mainly characterised by pain or discomfort affecting the cervical spine region but various symptoms can be associated with it.
Typical signs and symptoms include:
- pain around the neck region that may spread to the shoulder or scapula area or towards the base of the skull
- muscle stiffness or spasm
- pain aggravated and relieved by particular movements, postures and activities
- reduced range of neck motion
What causes it?
There are many reasons why you may develop neck pain, demands on your body through work and lifestyle as well as activity levels.
You could be at risk of developing neck pain if:
- you smoke (both actively and passively)
- you suffer from anxiety, depression and other forms of mental health conditions
- your physical activity is poor
- you have had previous episodes of musculoskeletal pain
- you have a high quantitative demanding career with low social support
- you feel insecure at work and you are not satisfied
- you have a desk bound job for which an adequate computer workstation has not been provided
- you have sedentary work positions
- your work actions are repetitive
How can it be treated?
Whilst neck pain is very common there are a number of measures that can be put in place to reduce your discomfort and prevent further suffering.
- remain as active as possible
- seek sleep advice to help with night discomfort
- work on correcting your posture
- recommend a workstation ergonomic assessment
- refer to physiotherapy and or osteopathy for an integrated treatment strategy including postural advice, exercises, manual therapy and acupuncture
- consider referral to a psychologist or counsellor to address any psychological factors contributing to the neck pain
Kennington Osteopaths and Physiotherapy is a multidisciplinary healthcare practice that can provide you with all the different care and treatment options you might need to address your neck pain.