Neck pain is a common problem, with two-thirds of the population experiencing neck pain at some point in their lives.

Neck pain, despite being felt in the neck, can be cause by other numerous spinal problems. These may includepostural abnormalities, muscle tightness originating in the neck or upper back, deep neck muscle weakness or pinching of the nerves emanating from the cervical vertebrae. Joint disruption in the neck creates pain, as does joint disruption in the upper back.

Neck pain may also occur secondary to injury, other health problems, or be referred from other areas or structures of the body.

Physiotherapy is commonly sought out when neck and shoulder pain strikes which can be successfully treated by this approach. The physiotherapist will investigate the pain and determine its cause. There are many different causes of neck pain.

Physiotherapy is very successful at treating the following problems and their causes:

  • Whiplash
  • Postural neck pain
  • Shoulder dysfunction/injuries leading to neck pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pinched nerves
  • Headaches referred from the neck
  • Tension related neck pain and headaches
  • Muscular strains
  • Acute wry neck (often after waking with a sore, stiff neck)

Treatment of neck pain depends on the cause, but may include:

  • Soft tissue massage
  • Soft tissue and muscle mobilisation
  • Stretches
  • Joint mobilisation
  • Specific exercise programs
  • Strapping
  • Postural re-education and ergonomic advice
  • Acupuncture
  • Electrotherapy such as TENS and ultrasound