Neck muscle damage can be caused by a number of different injuries such as whiplash in a road traffic accident to sitting at a desk. It can be very painful and can lead to significant functional problems with normal daily activities and reduced range of motion. The upper trapezius and levator scapula are most commonly injured and early physiotherapy intervention can diagnose the problem, and manage the muscle damage to minimise your recovery time. Early on treatment options to minimise pain can involve ice/ cold treatments, mobility exercises and massage. Late stage rehabilitation involves restoring full movement and strength exercises.
Facet joint syndrome is the irritation of the facet joints which can lead to neck and shoulder pain. It is common that pain can refer down and favour one side to the other. It is likely that the natural degeneration and thinning of the intervertebral discs play a role in this. Symptoms can include tenderness to touch, limitations with movement due to pain and stiffness, pain on movement and pain travelling down into the shoulder and upper back. Physiotherapy can provide a diagnosis, treatment, management plan and progressive rehabilitation program to help reduce pain and improve function.
Degenerative changes is a term used to summarise a number of signs and symptoms usually confirmed with an X-ray. It involves reduced space between your neck joints, dehydrated or worn discs and potentially ligamentous thickening. These changes can put extra pressure on joints, nerves and muscles around the neck. After a physiotherapy assessment, your clinician will have a clearer picture of whether your symptoms are related to degenerative changes. Treatment options can involve manual therapy, acupuncture, soft tissue treatments and exercises to help reduce pain and increase active movement.
Changes to your disc structure can sometimes apply pressure to nerves in spine. Disc protrusions or prolapse can squash the nerve tissue causing pain to the arm or other symptoms such as pins and needles or numbness. Treatment may involve medication to ease pain and physiotherapy to manage tight muscles or joints in the area. Exercises will help restore any restricted movement or function. Although a rarer injury, it can sometimes be difficult to manage and it may require further investigations to identify the cause of the pain.