Acute Neck Pain

This page deals with acute neck pain, please see this link for the Chronic Neck Pain information. Acute simply means “has happened recently” while chronic means “has existed for a long time” (usually over 3 months, but often much longer). So this is the page for you if your neck pain has recently flared up.

The good news! Most neck pain resolves (relatively) quickly, approximately within 6 weeks or so and is often not an indication of something more serious.

What Causes The Pain

As is often the case with the body, neck pain can arise from many different sources, such as irritable soft tissue like muscles which are being over worked; irritability or inflammation of joints in the neck, or irritation of neural structures such as nerves.

Modern physiotherapy places less emphasis on what structure might actually be sore. In the past you might have been given a diagnosis of a disk bulge or facet joint irritation, but this can often lead to a misleading picture of why your neck is sore. Advances in research have shown that while, for example, a disk problem may well be a cause of pain in some people, many people in the population can have those same changes and be completely symptom free. This means, that in modern physiotherapy we concentrate on what works best to reduce your pain.

What you can expect form your physio.

Your assessment will check your neck for any signs of any serious pathology and will run through a series of tests to help identify what style of treatment will work best for you and your neck.

You will then decide on a treatment pathway with your physio, and embark on a programme which will draw from multiple areas of physiotherapy such as short term relief form manual therapy (sometimes called hands on) and longer term exercise and pain modification plan. You may even get advice on sleeping, diet and stress management as they can often form a large part of the pain presentation


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