Neck and Headaches
The Neck is a complex structure consisting of a series of vertebrae (bones), joints, discs, ligaments and nerves. Pain may be caused by any of these structures as well as from strain to the muscles of the neck.
Pain and swelling in the small joints (facets) can be caused by wear and tear (osteo-arthritis) or trauma (sprain or traumatic arthritis). A disc may cause symptoms related to degeneration, herniation, annular tear or bulge.
The nerves can cause pain to radiate down the arm if they are irritated from a narrowing of the canal as they exit the spine (foraminal stenosis) or as they course down the body (central stenosis). This narrowing can be caused by inflammation, a disc protrusion or over-growth of bone. Pressure on the nerves at the base of the skull and tension in the muscles of the neck can cause headaches.
When you are having symptoms the most important first step is to understand what you have. Your therapist will provide a thorough assessment to determine whether your symptoms are caused by the joint, disc, ligament, muscle or nerve. At The Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic your therapist will partner with you to determine the best course of treatment for your injury.
Once the injury is diagnosed the next step is to determine where you are in the recovery sequence. Treatment is based on your stage of healing as more acute injuries typically require a plan to reduce pain and inflammation however as you continue to heal the restoration of flexibility, rebuilding strength and re-establishing normal movement patterns will become the focus of your therapy. The final stage is to determine a strategy to help you return to full activity, sport and long-term prevention. Posture and restoration of motion are important factors in relieving pain and for promoting the long-term healthy functioning of your neck.
Our therapists have extensive experience in the care of both the acute and chronic neck conditions including disc herniations, bulges and degenerative spine conditions. We work with clients after many types of spinal surgery including discectomy, stenosis decompression or fusion. We also have experience in working with clients who are having pain or weakness related to less common spinal problems such as syringomyelia, spina bifida, spinal tumors and spinal cord myelomalacia (spinal cord compression).