Common causes of neck pain

Common causes of neck pain

Neck pain is a common complaint and can often be an ongoing problem. For anyone experiencing neck pain and looking for physiotherapy in Twickenham, help is at hand at Body Logic Physiotherapy. However, understanding the common causes of neck pain can help you avoid it in the first place. So, read on to find out more about neck pain and its causes.

 Why we get neck pain

Your neck has to support the entire weight of your head and carry out a wide range of motions, including flexion, extension and rotation. So when a neck ache strikes, it is immediately obvious. 

The good news is most causes of neck pain aren’t serious. Often, pain is caused when you strain the small joints in the neck known as facet joints. While it may be a recurring condition, neck pain is often short term and can be avoided altogether by simple adjustments to your posture.

Sleep

Sometimes an awkward sleeping position can cause a stiff neck, or a ‘crick’ on waking. Try to be mindful of your position in bed. Your head and neck should be in line with your body to avoid straining your joints. Taking the time to ensure your pillow provides the correct amount of support can make all the difference when trying to avoid neck pain or help it recover more quickly.

Stress

When we’re stressed, our body can have a physiological response and, as with a headache, this can result in tension gathering in a specific area, such as your neck.

While it’s natural to want to keep your neck still to prevent pain, gentle movements, such as stretching and moving your neck from side to side, get the blood flowing and help prevent your muscles from stiffening.

To limit or prevent neck pain, try identifying stress factors in your everyday life and consider steps you can take to reduce them.

Worn joints

Just like other joints, your neck joints wear with age. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, causes the cartilage between your bones to degrade. To compensate for this loss, your ligaments can thicken and your bones can develop growths called bone spurs, which can affect joint movement.

Massage therapy and physiotherapy can improve blood flow, soft tissue flexibility and joint mobility, which can help ease neck pain caused by worn joints.

Nerve compression

Repetitive motion or holding yourself in an awkward position for prolonged periods of time can cause localised neck pain as well as referred pain into your arms due to nerve irritation. This can also be caused by a disc bulge, when the tissue that cushions the bones of your spine press on the nerve roots.

While rest can be key to resolving pain caused by a compressed nerve or to allow the disc bulge to heal, if symptoms persist, it’s important to seek help from a trained professional to help speed up recovery. 

Posture

If you spend long periods of time at a desk it is important that you invest in good ergonomic equipment, including an adjustable chair, screen risers to ensure the screen height is at eye level, laptop stands, an external keyboard and mouse to allow suitable arm positioning and foot stools if your feet cannot reach the floor. Standing desks are also of great value and allow you to avoid sitting for periods of the day altogether.

If you have persistent neck pain, we can guide you through some gentle exercises to relieve tension and advise on what steps you can take to avoid recurring pain. Call us today on 0208 898 1213 to find out how we can help.

Remember, for individual diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation advice, you should have an assessment by a professional.