Neck Q&A

Physio treating a stiff neck

A common question about neck pain:

Hi APC Clinic,

I’m in bits with neck pain lately. I just woke up with it a week ago, and it has not gone away – if anything, it feels like it’s getting worse and I almost feel I’m lopsided or twisted to one side. Trying to look over my shoulder when driving is a killer. I find it uncomfortable getting to sleep, not a happy bunny. I’m also getting a kind of headache/tiredness behind the eyes but I don’t know if that’s from the lack of sleep or what. It’s not enough to stop me doing anything, but it is VERY annoying. Working from home probably isn’t helping.

What can I do?

(Rachel, 28)

Our Physio’s recommendation for neck pain:

Hi Rachel, Craig here. Firstly, sorry to hear you’ve a pain in your neck. Secondly, thank you for reaching out and asking the question. I can almost guarantee that you definitely know someone who at some point has felt a similar issue. Assuming you’ve not been in any major falls or car crashes recently we can definitely rule out the dreaded “Whiplash” for a start. Most people will get a stiff neck or “Crick/Creek” in their neck from sleeping in an awkward position – and this generally resolves itself with no intervention over 3-5 days or so. Yours seems to be a bit more long lasting, but it doesn’t sound like anything sinister at all at all. It sounds like you have gone into a spasm of your neck/shoulder muscles. These muscles stem from around the tip of your shoulder, across to the shoulder blade area, and then up into the neck and head. One or more of these muscles can go into a “protective lock” or spasm – and can be really uncomfortable. Associated with this there may be some joints along the vertebrae of the neck have become stiff too. I would love to give you a “Do this and it’ll be fixed” piece of advice but, given it has been at you for a week now and it is not resolving, I would recommend getting it assessed by a professional. Without a proper assessment it would be impossible to rule in or out possible causes such as “trapped nerves” or any potential disc related issues. In the meantime, try using some heat on the area, and just try to allow the head and neck to move as normally as you can, without pushing into pain. I hope this offers some help to your situation. Craig @ APC  

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