Neck and upper back pain can occur suddenly (acute) or gradually over time. There are many structures in the neck that may be potential sources of pain, including: facet joints, discs, nerves, ligaments and muscles. Arm pain, headaches, pins and needles or numbness may also be associated with neck pain and these may be referred to as neurological symptoms. It is important that your neck pain is managed in its early stages to prevent it becoming chronic (long standing).
Musculoskeletal and sports physiotherapy treatment of neck pain includes soft tissue therapy, joint mobilisation, neurodynamic techniques, strengthening exercises, ergonomic advice and day to day strategies to minimise and prevent neck pain.
Whiplash is a term used to describe injuries of the neck that are a result of an acceleration – deceleration incident, such as a car accident where a car is rear-ended. The neck is hyper extended and flexed at high velocities causing stretching of the muscles and ligaments that provide stability and control for the neck.
Symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, headaches, muscle spasm, arm pain, pins and needles or numbness and a generally also be feeling unwell. In more severe cases, symptoms of pain and muscle spasm may present in the thoracic and lumbar spines.
Early management of these injuries is vital to prevent long-term neck pain and dysfunction that occurs in the muscles. Your musculoskeletal or sports physiotherapist can assess and treat your neck in the acute phase of whiplash and guide you through a full rehabilitation programme. Your treatment may involve soft tissue techniques, joint mobilisations, strengthening of the deep neck muscles, taping and ergonomic advice