Neck pain and headache can be debilitating conditions that affect many people.
It can have a number of causes including joint stiffness, pinched nerves, scoliosis, disc pathology, migraines or a combination of these.
With so many possible causes, getting an accurate diagnosis early is invaluable, so that effective treatment can be applied quickly.
Early intervention saves you unnecessary suffering and expense.
Atlas Physio staff are experienced in identifying the subtle differences in the pain and can help you understand what went wrong and what can be done about it.
The neck is a complex well-engineered mechanism of muscles, bones, nerves, ligaments and tendons.
It is a delicate structure. At the same time as protecting the spinal cord, it is flexible enough to allow complex movements and strong enough to support the head.
The adult human head weighs between 4.5 to 5 kg. It is masterfully balanced by many small, delicate and extremely well coordinated muscles. Together with many small ligaments, they hold the vertebrae in precise position, yet allow remarkable mobility when functioning well.
Two of the frequent causes for neck pain are whiplash and poor posture.
Whiplash is an injury that comes as a result of sudden acceleration or deceleration forces. Whilst car accidents account for most of these, other causes may include sport related collisions, bungy jumping or roller coasters.
People experience different types and intensity of symptoms, which can occur immediately after the impact or can appear a few days later. The most common symptoms are neck pain or stiffness, but people may also experience headaches, dizziness, visual disturbances, hearing or speaking difficulties or associated pains in shoulders, arms or upper back.
The good news is that, with appropriate early treatment, most patients with whiplash injuries fully recover between a few days to several months.
Our most challenging cases arise from “I’m sure it’ll get better by itself” mentality.
When neck symptoms are not caused by trauma, incorrect posture is another common cause. Incorrectly aligned, the neck is predisposed to injury and, in time, degeneration.
“Whilst attempting to stand as tall as possible, healthy neck position is when a droplet of water falling directly from your chin just hits your breastbone”
Poor posture causes shortening a number of muscle groups, which untreated can eventually become chronically tight.
Some of these muscles are:
- Scalene muscles (help to stabilise the lower neck)
- Suboccipital muscles (help you to look up)
- Levator scapulae muscles (raise the shoulder blades)
- Pectoral muscles (which pull the shoulders too far forward)
Identifying which structures are tight or struggling, then correcting the imbalance will stop your problem progressing and save you from further injury. Then we can work on recovering your fitness sooner.