Neck pain is a very common complaint and it is estimated that 22-77% of the population will suffer from neck pain at some point in their lives. It has also been reported that neck pain is the reason 25% of people attend outpatient physiotherapy clinics. It can be the result of simple strains to more complex issues. Physiotherapists are trained to assess and address the causes, along with various treatment strategies. Additionally, they can also identify who is not appropriate for treatment and needs to be referred back to a family doctor or specialist. Fortunately, the majority of neck pain does originate in the neck and the surrounding tissues, most of which respond very well to physiotherapy interventions.
Many people are unaware of the causes of neck pain which can include poor posture, falling asleep in an awkward position, postural muscle imbalances, or osteoarthritis. Decreasing activity level, crouching over laptops and phones, and sitting at work or in the car all contribute to increased stress on our necks. Many of these issues can be addressed with improving our postures, changing positions throughout the day, and incorporating certain neck friendly movements and stretches to our daily routine.
Sometimes, however, these simple lifestyle changes aren’t enough. A physiotherapist can help with a detailed assessment of specific limitations that may be contributing to more persistent pain. Physiotherapists are highly skilled at the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical neck pain and headaches. Postural correction is important, but it also depends on the availability of enough joint and muscle flexibility to achieve a good posture, in addition to the postural muscle control and endurance to maintain this posture! Physiotherapy will often incorporate various treatment modalities such as targeted exercises, manual therapy to help improve joint mobility, techniques to release muscle tension such as dry needling or soft tissue massage, and education to help identify and modify the factors contributing to the neck pain.
Basic tips to avoid neck strain:
With sports such as yoga, cycling, or even strenuous activities like gardening, remember to keep your chin in and down as opposed to up and out in order to avoid injury. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed whenever possible, and make sure you’re not hunching over.
Many problems with neck pain can be solved through physiotherapy including stretching, joint mobilization techniques, and even dry needling. Hot and cold compresses combined with a treatment plan specially designed by your physiotherapist will have you up and running (or cycling, or swimming, or hiking…) in no time!
Midtown Physiotherapy is a Toronto physiotherapy clinic offering client-centered and evidence-based treatment to help you get back to what you love. We offer appointments at our Yonge and St. Clair location, as well as home services for those unable to come to us. Click here to book online!