If you are experiencing neck and /or shoulder pain then seeing a physiotherapist will enable you to recover quickly and get back to sports, work and the things you enjoy most.
Neck and shoulder pain is commonly caused by factors associated with work, or overuse injuries which occur during sports. Traumatic injuries such as whiplash also commonly result in neck and shoulder pain.
How a physiotherapist can help
We will ask you in detail about the symptoms and assess the biomechanics of how you move, your posture and the function of your muscles, joints and ligaments.
We will then diagnose the cause of the neck pain, this may include identification of a number of factors which have contributed to the pain starting.
We will formulate a treatment plan and discuss this with you. Treatments will first be targeted at reducing pain and then rehabilitation to maximise functioning of the affected area. Treatments may include:
- Manual Therapy
- Rehabilitative exercise
Tips if you have neck or shoulder pain
- Use a low firm pillow – check that when you lie on it your spine is aligned well. You can ask someone to take a photo of you lying on the pillow and get a physiotherapist to check the position.
- Try exercises: these are examples of neck exercises and shoulder exercises – ensure the movements are comfortable and you build up the range of movement gradually. Do not ‘push on through’ the pain or do movements which are painful.
- Take pain relief – paracetamol or ibuprofen – if the pain is impacting your everyday activity and/or sleep.
- Use a heat or ice pack – for 5-10mins for pain relief. Ensure the pack is wrapped up to avoid damaging the skin.
- Get an assessment from a professional – this should include an assessment of your posture during typical movements you do each day, for example, at work and for sports.
Common causes of neck & shoulder pain
Whiplash occurs when your neck suddenly jolts forwards, backwards or sideways straining the muscles and damaging the soft tissue. Whiplash often occurs during a car accident or whilst playing sports and either receiving a blow to the head or falling and being struck on the head.
Frozen Shoulder can be very painful causing stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. Having a frozen shoulder restricts your movements meaning that you will have trouble elevating or rotating your arm. It can be caused by injury and can sometimes be a sign of a weak immune system or inflammation.
Rotator Cuff Tear can be quite a common injury often caused by sports injuries and repetitive overhead motions. It can be very painful and often feels worse with movement.
Bad Posture can contribute to having a hunched back from sitting at a desk or “text neck” causing the neck to slump forward causing pain in the neck and shoulders.
If the pain is not improving, see a physiotherapist to get a diagnosis and reduce pain quickly.
Research evidence supports physiotherapy for treatment of neck and shoulder pain. Exercise treatments have good research evidence for rehabilitation of neck and shoulder pain.
Physiotherapy Works – evidence for the benefits of physiotherapy