This page contains information about neck pain and neck injuries.
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Neck pain is very common, and the vast majority is easily treatable with physiotherapy. Most neck pain is not serious, and can often be caused by a relatively innocuous injury. Posture often plays a significant role in neck pain, especially if you have a desk based job. The pain may be caused by facet joint or intervertebral disc dysfunction, and usually involves muscle pain and tightness. Physiotherapy is aimed at improving joint mobility with manual therapy, and decreasing muscle tightness with soft tissue massage. You will usually be given exercises to help improve your movement and strength, and decrease your pain. It may be useful to take simple pain relief or anti-inflammatories, particularly when you have had an acute injury. Improving your strength and posture is important for persistent neck pain, as is ensuring you have a workstation that suits you. X-rays are not usually necessary, unless there is a suspicion of fracture, or other serious underlying condition.
A whiplash injury of the neck is when your head is forced forwards and backwards very quickly. This is common in car accidents, but can also happen with falls or sporting injuries. Most of the time the injuries are minor, but in severe cases the forces can cause significant damage to soft tissue, bones, and joints in the neck. Physiotherapy can help reduce your pain and improve your range of movement. Pain relief medication will usually be helpful, and occasionally you may need X-rays or other diagnostic testing. Some people develop weakness of the deep stabilising muscles of the neck following a whiplash injury, which can lead to chronic pain. It is therefore very important to see a physiotherapist and work on a specific exercise programme to address any strength deficiencies.