How to Treat Neck Pain

By Sally Ann Quirke, Chartered Physiotherapist | Filed under: Neck Pain


Treating Neck Pain
Find the cause of your neck pain before you treat it!

The best approach to treat neck pain?

I mentioned in an earlier article about the different causes of neck pain and how highlighted some of the many possible causes. But, when it comes to treating neck pain, I have three tips for my clients who suffer from neck pain. These are:

  1. Find out the underlying cause of your neck pain and get a treatment program to address that cause.
  2. Neck conditioning exercises
  3. Correct and maintain a good posture.

Treating neck pain

Treatment really depends on the cause of your neck pain.

If you received an injury to your neck due to a whiplash or sports injury, then there is likely to be dysfunction in a muscle, ligament and/or joint. The treatment for this type of injury normally requires manual therapy to correct the alignment and function, followed by neck strengthening exercises to facilitate a good posture and movement function for your neck.

Another more common underlying cause of neck pain is postural dysfunction - where a poor standing or sitting posture over time weakens and strains your neck muscles and ligaments causing pain. This has become all the more common with the use of smart phones and tablets! If poor posture cause of your neck pain, then manual therapy will help initially, but the long term cure lies in correcting your posture through home exercises and advice - which I accompany with Pilates type exercises for my own clients.

The importance of exercise and good posture.

I am of the opinion that posture exercises for are very beneficial for the long term resolution of neck pain symptoms. It is important to follow through with exercises as part of any treatment program for your neck injury. Occasionally I see people where we correct the injury, but they fail to follow up with their home exercise program to strengthen their neck and improve their posture - and this can lead to the re-occurrence of their injury (and re-presentation to my clinic!) with time.

There are some products available that support good posture to ease neck pain, and I often suggest products such as neck roll pillows and back support chairs to my clients. However, if you think these sort of products will help you, best to consult with a medical professional and find out the cause of your neck pain, before you consider buying. That way you will be best placed to find the right support products for you.

Ultimately, the treatment of your neck pain relies on an accurate diagnosis and then an efficient and effective treatment program that addresses that cause, and if you find a professional who understands this approach, you will be well on the way to treating your neck pain for good.

Generally, the initial treatment will be correcting the dysfunction in your neck though manual therapy, but be sure to follow through with any home exercise you may be prescribed. In most cases, it is through exercise and maintaining a good posture where we are most effective in reducing the onset of neck pain.

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While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.

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