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Neck pain

PhysiotherapyNeck pain and stiffness is one of the most common reasons for patients to seek physiotherapy treatment and advice.

There’s no doubt about it: an inability to fully move your head, or a sore and painful neck can be very frustrating – yet it’s simple to fix in the majority of cases.



Neck Pain Causes

Neck pain has many causes usually due to musculoskeletal issues. Acute neck pain can be assessed, diagnosed and treatment started usually in your first physiotherapy session.

A proportion of neck complaints may develop into persistent or chronic neck pain and become multifactorial in nature. Evidence suggests the risk of chronic neck pain increases once neck pain is established for 6 weeks. It is therefore essential to make an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your neck pain so that appropriate treatment can be directed at the source.

Some uncommon bone disorders, tumours, fractures, infections, inflammatory conditions, ankylosing spondylitis and pressure from structures near to the spine occasionally cause neck pain. Diseases including osteoarthritis, spondylosis and osteoporosis can also cause pain due to joint degeneration.

Poor Posture

One of the major causes of neck pain is poor posture, something that is becoming more and more common in modern society.

Basically, we humans were built to move – and we rarely do.

Poor posture, whether due to sitting, standing and lifting during work, or participating in hobbies and sports over a prolonged period of time, overloads the structures of your neck – and this leads to accumulated micro-trauma causing injury and neck pain.

Muscles fatigue, ligaments overstretch, discs stretch and this places spinal joints and nerves under pain-causing pressure. Your brain tries to alleviate the pain by moving your body into postures that slacken the nerves being irritated. However, this can lead to the muscles being placed into shortened positions which eventually causes further irritation and pain, thus beginning a vicious circle of pain and dysfunction.

A high percentage of neck pain problems lead to headaches due to poor postures in sitting, sleeping or standing. Many people often do not realise that the headaches they experience are often due to neck and postural problems and that their symptoms can be treated very successfully once an accurate diagnosis has been made.

Disc Bulge

A bulging disc can be a common injury sustained to your spine’s intervertebral disc. It can occur in your neck (cervical spine), upper and mid-back (thoracic spine) or your lower back (lumbar spine).

A bulging disc is also commonly be referred to as a slipped disc or a protruding disc. If the disc bulge is large enough to injure the annulus (outer layer of the disc), the nucleus (inner substance of the disc) can press outwards on the weakened disc wall, causing your disc to bulge outwards. The cervical disc may also protrude and put pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots, leading to pins and needles, numbness or pain radiating into the shoulder, arm, elbow or fingers and thumbs.

Acute Wry neck

A wry neck is a common condition, with patients generally reporting a sudden onset of pain and stiffness in the neck or upper back. Noticeable limitation of movement and postural deformity occurs due to locking of one of the facet joints or a bulging disc of the neck.

This can cause some people to become very concerned due to the rapid nature of the symptoms, their inability to move or function and sharp pain – and this can quickly become worse if people become stressed about it…


Stress and other emotional factors play a major role in neck pain, particularly persistent / chronic neck pain. Many people unconsciously tighten their neck muscles when they are under stress (they ‘take the weight of the world on their shoulders’!).

The major drivers of chronic pain states are stress and anxiety; they cause about 80% of sufferers’ symptoms. In cases where there was an injury, this will usually heal in approximately 3-4 months; however the pain is still experienced. How so? It is driven by chemical releases from the stress hormones adrenalin and cortosol. Numerous vicious circles form, thus perpetuating the pain state.

Good news

You can take very quick and safe steps to prevent or alleviate most neck pain episodes.

Our physiotherapists at Gosforth Physio & Wellness are highly skilled experts in diagnosis, treatment, education and prevention of mechanical neck pain.

Early diagnosis and treatment is essential to aid speedy recovery from neck pain and help prevent its recurrence.


We use our head before we use our hands!

At Gosforth Physiotherapy and Wellness we are the specialists in assessment, diagnosis, treatment and education of pain and dysfunction from neuro- musculoskeletal neck conditions.  Once a detailed assessment is completed and we have established your diagnosis, all appropriate treatment options will be discussed with you.

You can be sure that you’re placing your health in the right hands.

Treatments include:

  • Manual Therapy
  • Mobilisation
  • Manipulation
  • Acupuncture
  • Dry needling
  • Massage
  • Taping
  • Soft Tissue Release
  • Trigger Point Muscle Release
  • Muscle Energy Techniques
  • Postural Education / Advice
  • Postural Strengthening

You will be taught specific strengthening, stretching and Pilates exercises to perform at home to enhance and speed up your recovery, allowing you to effectively self manage your problem.

It is very rare that an MRI scan or X Ray is required. However, if your Physiotherapist or you feel that further investigation is necessary we can arrange private scans quickly. Referrals can be arranged in 2-5 days at The Newcastle Clinic and at North Tyneside MRI Centre.

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