Neck Pain, Headaches & whiplash
Neck pain is any pain felt in the neck area with or without referred pain into the shoulders, arm or head. It is the 4th most common complaint for which people present for medical help with 50 % of people reporting a neck injury requiring treatment in their lifetimes. Neck pain causes a detrimental effect on people’s quality of life, affects their work and sleep and causes a burden on them financially with medical appointments, but also missed school, work and social/sporting commitments.
If you’ve ever had an acute wry neck – you’ll understand how incapacitating neck pain can be. Often making it difficult to turn your head, or even just holding your head upright. There are different causes for neck pain – ranging from sprains of the facet joints (zygapophyseal joints), discs, ligaments, muscles and nervous tissues.
There are 3 main types of headaches: cervicogenic, migraine and tension headaches. In short terms, cervicogenic headaches are headaches that are coming from the neck, specifically the first 3 vertebrae in your cervical spine. The nerves from this area share the same pathway as nerves from your skull, and therefore if you have any dysfunction through the joints, disc or soft tissue through your upper neck, you are at risk of developing a headache.
Tension headaches are one of the most common headaches and were previously referred to as “muscle contraction headaches” or “stress headaches”. These types of headaches arise from tension or tightness in your muscles, specifically in your neck, upper back, shoulders or all of these combined.
Migraines are headaches that stem more specifically from your circulatory system in your head. They are often associated with other symptoms, including light sensitivity, nausea or vomiting.
Whiplash is the whipping or acceleration/deceleration movement of the neck which results in sudden stretching or compression of the structures of the neck. Whiplash injuries to the neck often result from motor vehicle crashes, but can also result from falls onto the head, sporting accidents, being “dumped” in the surf and diving accidents. The severity of the impact often doesn’t correlate well with the symptoms of the sufferer. A number of structures can be affected including the bones, joints, discs, muscles, ligaments and nervous tissue. Symptoms can vary, but statistics show that 30 to 50% of people sustaining a whiplash-type injury complain of widespread symptoms, often termed Whiplash Associated Disorder.
Our physiotherapists have an excellent understanding of the anatomy of the neck, head and nervous systems as well as understanding the pathology of pain and the most recent scientific evidenced treatment practices. The services that will help you get rid of your neck pain or headache are: