The neck is an incredibly important and mobile part of our body – allowing us to see in all directions. However, despite its importance, the neck is also a fragile body part which is susceptible to pains and strains.
You may experience neck pain at least once during your lifetime, and as such, it is imperative that you understand the basics of neck pain so that you can better prepare yourself for the experience.
Types of neck pain
There are many different types of neck pain which may vary in intensity and duration. Knowing what type of neck pain you are experiencing may help with finding the right treatments and remedies..
Examples of different types of neck pain include:
- Whiplash: where a whiplash injury causes neck pain and stiffness. In cases of whiplash, treatments such as gentle active mobilisation exercises and strengthening exercises may be helpful in the early stages.
- Wry neck: wry neck is a type of acute neck pain which describes a temporary stiff and painful sensation in the neck. It may occur on one or both sides of the neck, and is most commonly caused by sleeping in an awkward posture or a sudden jerking of the neck.
Neck pain and poor posture
A common cause of neck pain is poor sitting or working posture. Poor posture may cause neck pain by putting extra and unnecessary strain on the neck joints and muscles. For example, working slouched or with your chin forward for several hours at a time may strain your neck.
There are several ways you may use to help prevent posture-related neck pain, including:
- Ensuring you have an ergonomic workstation, which helps you sit in a good supported posture and work off eye-level screens
- Changing your posture regularly so that your body does not become stiff working for prolonged periods of time
- Perform posture correction exercises as recommended by a professional health practitioner such as a chiropractor
- Move and exercise regularly, or as stated by the World Health Organisation’s physical activity guidelines, to improve your muscle tone and general posture.
Osteoarthritis is a common type of arthritis which symptoms may include pain and stiffness in the neck. Although there is no cure for osteo arthritis, it can be managed with treatments and exercises recommended by a professional health practitioner. It is important to gain a correct diagnosis of your neck pain so that you discover whether or not you are living with osteoarthritis, and which remedies may be most effective to help you address your neck pain.
Neck pain treatments
Due to there being many different causes of neck pain, there are also many different types of treatments you can apply to address your neck pain. These include:
- Undergoing specific exercise programs to retrain and strengthen the muscles in your neck
- Participating in posture training exercises as directed by a health practitioner
- Relaxation therapy
- Soft tissue massages
- Mobilising or manipulating your passive joints.
Chiropractic is a form of manual therapy which may also assist in addressing neck pain, by identifying any issues related to the spine and adjusting joints and muscles to relieve pressure on the neck.
It is recommended that you speak with a health practitioner to diagnose your neck pain before undergoing any potential treatments to address it. This is so that you can better understand the causes of your neck pain, and apply the right sets of treatments.