How Does A Physio Treat Neck Pain?
Unfortunately, neck pain is something all of us will face at some point in our lives. The pain can be incredibly inconvenient and can make the simplest of tasks feel monumental, so it’s only natural that we want to deal with the cause and regain freedom of movement. The Energise Therapy Clinic team is qualified, experienced physiotherapists, and we specialise in treating a wide range of muscular, joint, and skeletal conditions that cause pain. We’re here to help you identify neck pain and provide you with the steps to reduce or eliminate your neck pain.
What’s The Difference Between Chronic And Acute Neck Pain?
The types of neck pain we experience typically differ in their cause, and most types of neck pain fall into one of two categories; acute pain and chronic pain.
Acute pain. This form of pain is a normal sensation and serves to alert us to a possible injury that may need attention. Acute pain doesn’t typically last longer than three months, and it is very responsive to conservative treatments.
Chronic pain. If acute pain lasts longer than three months, it becomes chronic pain. Chronic pain is due to prolonged pain signals firing in the nervous system, and although it may originate in the neck area, the pain can quickly spread to the upper back and arms. Chronic pain can be treated with similar procedures as acute pain, but it may require the help of strength and conditioning, additional medications or behavioural treatment services.
What Are The Leading Causes Of Neck Pain?
Acute and chronic neck pain can stem from many causes, but understanding what triggered the pain can help your physio choose better treatments and develop better pain management strategies for you. Some common causes of neck pain include;
Substantial sudden injury or whiplash
Turning the head at an odd angle
Sleeping in an awkward position
Sustained prolonged postures
Repeated strain under heavy loads
Certain health conditions such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis
How Can My Physio Help With My Neck Pain?
The Energise Therapy Clinic team are experts at relieving neck pain and providing tips and tricks that help prevent future discomfort. We can offer the following services to help reduce and eliminate neck pain.
Providing an explanation. The first step to high-quality treatment is uncovering the cause of the pain. We’ll help you narrow down what’s causing your neck pain, and we’ll help you establish strategies to prevent future pain.
Gentle manual therapy. Therapies such as rhythmic movement have shown some success in treating neck pain. Coupled with some manipulation of the neck, such as massage and joint mobilisation, Energise Therapy Clinic’s physios can help alleviate your pain and discomfort.
Gentle, specific exercises. We help you work through targeted exercises to ensure the muscles supporting the neck continue to work, ease pain, and gradually restore normal neck movement.
Orthotic support and prescription. We can provide recommendations on orthotic and postural supports that will help reduce and eliminate neck pain.
Dry needling. This form of therapy can help reduce muscle pain by finding trigger points in the muscle or tissue. It has the potential to relieve pain, improve mobility, and increase flexibility to kick start your recovery
Self-help strategies. We can provide plenty of advice on making minor life adjustments that will help you reduce or eliminate your neck pain.
Is There Anything I Could Be Doing To Reduce Neck Pain?
If you’re experiencing neck pain and want to see if you can manage it yourself before booking an appointment with Energise Therapy Clinic, here are a few strategies to reduce the discomfort.
Hot and cold therapy. Try alternating between applying heat and ice to your neck. Use a wheat pack or hot water bottle for heat to get the blood flowing to the injured area and ease tension. After 15-20 minutes, switch to an ice pack to decrease inflammation. After a couple of alterations, give your skin a break for several hours before attempting it again.
Massage. You could seek out massage treatments to ease muscle tension and improve mobility. However, if you’re suffering from acute neck pain due to an injury, we recommend seeing a qualified physiotherapist or health professional apply massage therapy. An untrained massage may unknowingly flare up symptoms.
Gentle exercises. Ceasing movement entirely can cause the area to stiffen and create more discomfort when you attempt to move. Try doing simple, gentle side-to-side and back-and-forth movements to keep the neck muscles moving.
Rest. If you’re suffering acute neck pain, don’t overdo it. Most neck pain will heal if the body is given time to rest and recover, so take a day or two to minimise your aggravating movements and let yourself heal.
Pain killers. If you need to reduce inflammation, speak to your doctor regarding the suitability of taking ibuprofen, paracetamol, or aspirin. Make sure you don’t take more than recommended, no matter how much pain you’re in. You can also use balms and creams such as Deep Heat, Tiger Balm, and Voltaren.
If your pain persists longer than a few days, you should book an appointment with the physiotherapists at Energise Therapy Clinic, so your acute pain doesn’t become chronic.
How Do I Avoid Neck Pain Altogether?
Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can be doing to prevent neck pain. If you repeat these adjustments regularly, they’ll quickly become habits that will see your overall well being improve dramatically.
Change your posture. We often don’t notice when we’re hunched over, as our spines fall into the habit of slouching very quickly. Slouching alone is not 100% a cause of neck pain, however prolonged (key word: prolonged) poor posture is one of the leading causes of preventable neck pain. Knowing what positions you are putting your neck in for most of the day and changing your posture regularly is key.
Think about your work station. According to Safe Work Australia, 50% of Australian workers have jobs that involve sitting at a desk at least some of the time. Our backs and necks weren’t designed to do long, daily stints of sedentary work, so it’s essential to make your workstation as neck-friendly as you can. Keep your computer at eye level and not too far from your face. If you have to turn your neck too frequently when using your work computer, you need to reevaluate your setup. Your work chair set up can also help prevent acute neck pain. You should have access to a chair with good lumbar support, adjustable height, and adjustable armrests.
Take regular breaks at work. Take time every hour to stand and walk around, stretching your neck and back as you go. If you can, ask your workplace to invest in an adjustable desk that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing. If you’re doing a lot of the same activity e.g. gardening, lifting heavy objects, working out, or painting, make sure to take regular breaks and have enough recovery time for your body.
Build up the fitness and condition of your neck and back muscles. A lot of the problems we experience with our neck and neck muscles come from overloading that area beyond what they are capable of handling. The stronger and more conditioned your neck, back and arm muscles already are, the less strain they are under when you do your activities.
If You’re Suffering Acute Neck Pain, Book An Appointment With Energise Therapy Clinic
At Energise Therapy Clinic, we’re committed to helping our clients reduce their pain, regain their freedom of movement, and enjoy their lives again. Our team of qualified, experienced physiotherapists are focused on more than just treating your pain; we look for the deeper reason behind the pain and seek to solve the root cause of it. We offer the very best, most innovative forms of physiotherapeutic practice, and we love opportunities to help our clients develop strategies to reduce and eliminate pain in their day-to-day lives. If you’re suffering from acute or chronic neck pain, please don’t hesitate to book an appointment with Energise Therapy Clinic. We can’t wait to get you moving again.