Cervical disc bulge
Tearing of connective tissue surrounding the disc resulting in bulging of the disc. One of the more common causes of neck pain usually associated with poor posture (sitting, sleeping), lifting or twisting forces.
Symptoms may include neck pain, with/without referred pain - headaches, pain into the upper back, shoulder, or arm.
Facet joint sprain
Tearing of connective tissue surrounding one of the joints located on either side of the spine.
Symptoms include neck pain which are predominantly one sided. It may present with/without referred pain - headaches, pain into the upper back, shoulder, or arm.
Headaches originating from the neck. Symptoms presents as a dull ache which may be situated around the forehead, top of the head, back of the head or behind the eye. Clinical signs are associated neck stiffness, pain and difficulty turning the neck.
Usually occurs on waking in the morning due to a specific incident the day before i.e. quick movement of the neck or heavy lifting. There is usually presenting pain and stiffness in the neck or upper back with a significant lost of range of motion often to one side. Muscle spasms and postural deformity (often with the head cocked to one side) are common features as well.
An acceleration/deceleration injury of the neck as a result of a motor vehicle accident, sports injury or fall where the neck is forcefully thrown forwards, and then backwards. Muscle spasm, restricted movement, and tenderness on touching the affected levels of the spine are common symptoms. This is a serious condition and should be reviewed by a trained practitioner to limit any potential long term issues.
The neck is very mobile, which means that it is inherently less stable than other areas of the body and more susceptible to injury. Neck injuries and poor posture are the most common causes of neck pain. Neck injuries are often a result from motor vehicle, sports or workplace accidents.
It is important to note that even a minor incident which may not have hurt can cause damage to verteberae, joints, nerves, discs, ligaments and muscles. Diseases such as arthritis or degeneration of the discs can also cause pain.
Tips for preventing neck pain
It is important to maintain a tall and relaxed posture when spending longer than 30 minutes in any position e.g. sitting, sleeping, working. Think tall, keep your shoulders relaxed, chin tucked in, head level and chest lifted.
Avoid sleeping on your stomach as this places strain on the ligaments, joints and muscles of your neck and back. Ensure that your mattress is not more than 10 years old, and that your pillow is firm and supportive.
Take note of when you are feeling stressed and participate in some stress relieving activities. Stress winds up your whole system and you may be slouching or tensing your shoulders without realising.
This is where the individual is actually causing himself/herself more harm than good when exercising without the proper posture, technique, or is actually performing exercises that exacerbates a particular condition.
These are just a few of the main factors that contribute to neck pain. For a comprehensive assessment and advice on optimal care for your neck, reach out to our highly trained physiotherapists at our Chatswood or North Sydney clinic.