Neck Pain and Dizziness
Neck pain is common and isn't always related to an injury. Areas of pain vary and can start at the base of your skull, muscles that surround the neck, or even from the spine itself. further associated symptoms with neck pain can include dizziness, referral, and headaches.
Neck pain can be as a result of tight muscles, stiff joints, or movement dysfunctions. This is often following sustained postures, exercise related soreness and sometimes as a result of your sleeping position.
Types of Injuries linked to neck pain can be:
Osteoarthritis, Joint stiffness and muscle tightness:
The facet joints of the neck have the ability to refer to areas as low as your shoulder blade and the chest. This referral pain is often a dull ache or even pins and needles. This joint stiffness and/or tight muscles in the neck and shoulder blade can restrict movement of the neck and even the shoulder.
Osteoarthritis is when the joint cartilage degenerates. The inflammation from the process can be painful and often leads to the joint and surrounding structures stiffening up.
Physiotherapy can loosen tight muscles and joints to reduce pain and increase movement.
Postural related pain
The common form of postural related pain is a forward head posture or chin poke which stresses joints in the neck. This posture is most commonly seen among professions with high computer use. It can also lead to pain at the base of the skull if you are lying down too long, or extended periods of driving. If untreated, poor posture can lead to weakness and long-term overload of joints and muscles in the neck. Physiotherapy looks to find the underlying reason for poor posture and correct this through a combination of hands on therapy and exercises to prevent long-term dysfunction.
Joints in the neck that hold the vertebrae together get extremely stiff and results in muscle spasm. People with wry neck often wake up with this condition. This is quite a painful condition, however with the aid of physiotherapy to relax the muscles and mobilise the stiff joints, recovery can be accelerated to within 1-2 weeks.
Whiplash Associated Disorders
Most commonly associated with after suffering a motor vehicle accident, whiplash is the result of a very quick movement of the neck. Whiplash is a painful condition as there can be micro traumas to lots of little ligaments in the neck.This can lead to a change in posture and long term ongoing problems as a result. Referral pain is also common with this injury.
Physiotherapy can begin to strengthen the neck and restore body awareness allowing you to return to normal activity
Dizziness or vertigo, while not the cause of neck pain, is a common result of the pain. It refers to a feeling of either the environment around you, or yourself moving/spinning leading to nausea and difficulty with mobility. When the joints and muscles in the neck get stiff and tight, they restrict movement and can send too many signals to the brain during movement, leading to an overload of information related to your position and space.
By reducing this stiffness in the joints and muscles, dizziness symptoms from neck dysfunction often improve.
Thoracic outlet syndrome
Thoracic outlet syndrome refers to compression of either nerves, blood vessels or a combination of the two at the thoracic outlet (between the side of the neck, collarbone, first rib and muscles of the neck and chest). This results in pain or pins and needles/numbness in either the side of the neck or down the arm. Often symptoms worsen during the sleep or with increasing amounts of activity. This can happen due to anatomical alterations (such as extra ribs), poor posture, trauma or repetitive tasks which pressure the thoracic outlet. Physiotherapy is the first line of treatment for this condition and aims to reduce the compression of the nerves and blood vessels. This involves correcting stressful postures, relaxing muscles and joint stiffness which increase compression. A range of exercises are used, ranging from teaching you to breathe more effectively to resistance exercises.