The cervical spine is made up of 7 vertebrae which are connected by joints and ligaments and between which there are discs.
The injuries which may affect the area include fractures and dislocations with ligament damage. Degenerative changes can affect the discs and give rise to bony growths called osteophytes along the edges of the vertebral bodies. This can result in pressure on the nerve which causes pain.
Injuries and diseases of the neck can cause discomfort and pain which can radiate to the back of the head, shoulders and down the arm.
This is a common cause of neck pain and a common reason to seek treatment from a physiotherapist.
The injury involves the neck being rapidly extended and then flexed. This results in ligament and muscle injury. After confirmation of no bony injury by X Ray early mobilisation treatment by a physiotherapist has been proven to hasten recovery.
Most neck pain is a simpler cause. It may be from sleeping awkwardly, sitting too long in a bad posture with the neck held in a bent position too long.
A thorough assessment is made of the movements that are restricted and a careful history of the pain is taken. Then treatment comprises of gentle mobilising techniques to ease up the stiff joints in the neck. This in turn helps the deep muscles to relax. Also gentle muscle stretches may be performed and the patient may be given some home exercises to continue on their own.
This an all be performed very gently with no need for manipulation unless necessary.
Postural advice will be given to avoid further problems.