Introduction to

Head & Neck

The average human head weighs approximately 10 to 11 pounds (4.5 to 5 kg). Due to this load, it is important for us to maintain good posture, strength and stability to avoid overloading the vertebrae, muscles, ligaments and nerves in this region. 

What causes Head and Neck pain?

The head and neck is a complex area and pain can be caused by a number of different structures. There are a variety of possible reasons for a person to experience pain in this region. Pain can be caused by inflammation in the vertebral joints caused by arthritis (spondylosis), or from a muscle injury to the paraspinal muscles. It can also be due to problems or irritations of the nerves that 'feed' off the cervical spine (neck), these irritations could include disc prolapses or be from a flare-up of degenerate disc disease. Pain eminatting from the neck area will often cause headaches and it doesn't always have to be structural in nature - 'mechanical' head and neck pain caused by poor posture or upper back instability is often more common. The onset of the pain can be a good indicator of what structures might be at fault and a thorough assessment is usually required to examine the head and neck area.

What can be done to help?

Medication can be a useful first step in helping to relieve pain in the head and neck area. This can be discussed with your GP or Pharmacist. Another early intervention which is often encouraged is Physiotherapy. A specialist assessment can give a good indication of what might help a head and neck pain problem recover. Often techniques used by Physiotherapists such as manual therapies and exercises can assist in the rehabilitation process. Sometimes further assessment is required in order to establish the exact cause of the problem. This can include scans (MRI, X-ray) or seeing a spinal specialist consultant.

What exercises can I try?

Due to the complexity of the head and neck, and the variety of possible problems, it is very difficult to prescribe exercises that will help recovery from a problem in this area. We recommend seeing one of our Physiotherapist's who will be able to show you the correct exercises for your individual needs. Often, a few simple exercises done correctly can go a long way to alleviate head and neck problems.

Common Head and Neck conditions that we treat:

  • Neck stiffness / Torticollis
  • Osteoarthritis of the neck
  • Cervicogenic headaches
  • Nerve root injury (disc prolapses/degenerate disc disease)

Our Physiotherapy team can assess for and treat all of the above, often without the need for surgical intervention.

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