Neck Pain 101

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The Neck is a complex structure consisting of a series of joints, discs, ligaments and nerves.

The Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic

Pain may result from any of these structures as well as from strain to the muscles of the neck.  It can be challenging to diagnosis as pain may be felt in the neck, shoulder blade, chest or down the arm as far as the hand.

Joint or disc pain 

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, or from a herniation, annular tear or bulge.

Nerve pain 

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.

Muscle pain

Although muscles can refer pain to the neck the most common problem is a lack of support caused by weak or poorly coordinated muscles. Understanding these patterns of weakness and poor muscle support in conjunction with the restoration of good posture is integral to the long term health of your spine.

Determining the cause

At The Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic your therapist will partner with you to determine the best course of treatment for your injury. 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.  They will look at factors in your life that may be influencing your pain i.e. computer set-ups.

Your Treatment

Once the injury is diagnosed the next step is to determine where you are in the recovery sequence. Treatment is predominately determined by your stage of healing as more acute injuries usually require a plan to reduce pain and inflammation.

As you continue to heal the focus of your therapy shifts to the restoration of flexibility, rebuilding strength and re-establishing normal movement patterns. The final stage is to determine a strategy to help you return to full activity, sport and long-term prevention.

Our Therapists

Our therapists have extensive experience in the care of both the acute and chronic neck conditions including arthritis, disc herniation, disc bulges and degenerative spine conditions. We work with clients after disc, stenosis or fusion surgeries. We also have experience in working with clients with less typical spinal problems such as syringomyelia, spina bifida, spinal tumors and spinal cord myelacia.

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This service pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about therapy, health and related sub­jects. It is not meant to replace advice and/or treatment from your health care professional.