by Alan Jordan
The general concept behind the use of physiotherapy treatment for neck pain is that the majority of the neck symptoms are mechanical in origin. Therefore, an awkward movement or a sustained prolonged posture in an awkward position, might become the precipitating factor for neck to become painful.
It is very difficult to establish the exact cause of pain in the neck. So some medical professionals use clinical models rather than a specific diagnosis to understand the possible mechanisms of pain.
Generally speaking, neck pain can present in two main models, one with a sudden onset and another with a slower progression of increasing pain and stiffness.
The first model often presents a restricted and painful one or two movements, for example turning the head to the right, whilst all other movements are maintained, and or much less painful. This model can be helped by treatment such as manipulation, often described and felt as a click in the spine. This should never be painful and generally produces an immediate relief.
The second model of gradual onset, often responds better to gentle mobilization of the vertebrae. The aim is always to alleviate the symptoms.
Physiotherapists at the Broadgate Centre use a combination of the techniques mentioned above together with soft tissue techniques, acupuncture and exercises. This not only enhances muscular strength and movement control of the head on the shoulders but also improves overall spinal posture. Pilates, Deep Neck Flexors and McKenzie exercises are a good example.
Movement makes movement! Hence, keep moving as much as it feels comfortable. Treat pain as a “friend”, that is, pain is an indicator that something is not right; you will be better off avoiding the painful movements but keep moving.