Neck pain usually starts suddenly and often starts to feel better after a few days. However, if your neck pain doesn’t go away or it gets worse, you may need treatment.
There are different types of neck pain, each has different causes
- Simple (or uncomplicated) neck pain is the most common type of neck pain. It might be caused by bad posture, stress, sleeping awkwardly or strain to your neck muscles and ligaments. Neck pain may also be caused by wear and tear of the bones and discs in your neck.
- Neck pain with nerve involvement (Radiculopathy) is when a nerve is being compressed or injured as it comes out between the bones in the neck. With this type of neck pain you may feel numbness, weakness, or tingling in your arm or hand.
- Whiplash is common after car crashes and sports injuries when your head is suddenly jolted backwards and forwards in a whip-like movement. Your neck muscles and ligaments stretch beyond their normal range which may cause a sprain.
What will we do if you present with neck pain?
To rule out serious causes of neck pain we will perform an orthopaedic and neurological examination. We might need to refer you for an X-ray of your neck, a CT scan, or an MRI scan. If an inflammation or infection is suspected we will refer you for blood tests.
How do we treat neck pain?
There are many techniques to treat different types of neck pain
- Manipulation or mobilisation: manipulation is safe if you are treated by a trained chiropractor. However, there have been very rare cases of people getting damage to blood vessels, or even strokes, after manipulation involving sharp thrusts to the neck.
- Soft tissue techniques such as specific massage to tight muscles and trigger-point therapy for very tender spots in the muscle.
- Exercises to strengthen your neck muscles and improve your flexibility by stretching tight muscles.
- Use of hot and cold packs
- If the pain is uncontrolled we will refer you to your GP or a pharmacist for advice on painkillers.