Did you know? If you have experienced neck pain, you have a 70-80% chance of having another episode. The more often you have neck pain episodes, the more often they are likely to occur.
Unless your neck is correctly treated.
Treatment should involve alleviating the pain associated with a neck pain episode, which is often the easier part of the process. The next phase of treatment, which is usually more challenging, ensures the neck is fully rehabilitated. Effective rehabilitation significantly reduces the likelihood of experiencing recurrent neck pain attacks.
What does neck rehabilitation involve?
Restoring full movement to the neck as well as the upper back and shoulder if affected.
Restoring the stability function of specific muscles about the neck and shoulder girdle. The deep stabiliser muscles, which support and control movement, are usually weak or become weakened following a neck pain episode.
Restoring sensorimotor function, which includes position sense, balance, and postural control, i.e. the ability to make subtle corrections to neck positions and movement based on feedback from your joints and muscles.
Improving neck strength, which can only be done effectively once stability and sensorimotor function has been restored. It is essential to strengthen the larger neck muscles to assist with strong, forceful movements and help absorb some of the impact forces that may occur during contact sports like rugby.
When treating clients with neck pain, the challenge is to complete an entire rehabilitation programme after the pain has settled. Many clients stop treatment once they start to feel better but end up returning after a few months with another episode of neck pain.
From my clinical experience, those clients who complete a full course of treatment and rehabilitation, which may in some cases take a few months, are significantly less likely to return for further treatment. Completing a rehabilitation programme also reduces the need for long term medication, spinal injections and surgical procedures.
In good health,
Chartered Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist Specialist
MPhty(Manips), BPhysio, MISCP, BMAS
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