A stiff neck is a very common condition that occurs in many people. Physiotherapy is a very effective treatment for a stiff neck and can help to resolve symptoms in a short space of time allowing you to get back to work and make sleeping and everyday activities better.
Your neck supports your head weight and acts to protect the structures inside it such as your nerves.
What is neck stiffness?
Neck stiffness describes immobility, stiffness and pain in your neck that can be caused by any of your neck structures, such as the joint itself, or soft tissue such as muscles, tendons and ligaments.
What causes neck stiffness?
Neck stiffness can be caused by tension or muscle strains. Day to day activities can cause neck stiffness such as having a computer monitor that isn’t at the correct height, working at a desk and being hunched over for long periods of time, watching television or reading a book with a poor posture for a long period of time, turning or twisting the neck rapidly or “jarring” it during exercise, or sleeping awkwardly or uncomfortably. Your physiotherapist can use the term “non-specific” if you haven’t got an obvious reason for the stiffness in your neck.
Stress and anxiety have also been linked to neck stiffness as tension builds in your neck muscles.
Falls or other traumatic incidents can cause neck stiffness usually with other more serious conditions such as whiplash or a fracture.
What are the symptoms of neck stiffness?
There are a few typical symptoms that present with neck stiffness including:
- Muscle spasm
- Difficulty with neck movement, more so to one side
- Tingling, numbness or arm weakness if one of the nerves in your hand is irritated
How is neck stiffness diagnosed?
Your physiotherapist will carry out a full subjective and objective examination, making sure all necessary things are assessed to determine whether you have neck stiffness or if something else is causing your symptoms.
Scans are not normally required for neck stiffness though they may be used to assess the level of injury to the structures in your neck or to rule out different diagnosis.
What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for neck stiffness?
Following on from your assessment, your physiotherapist will create a treatment programme for you based on what was found during your assessment. Every treatment plan is different and it will incorporate your lifestyle and goals.
Treatment may include:
- Stretching exercises
- Soft tissue massage
- Joint mobilisation
- Joint manipulation
- Trigger point release
- Postural advice
- Sleeping advice
Benefit of physiotherapy for neck stiffness?
There are several benefits of physiotherapy for neck stiffness and physiotherapy can help to improve your symptoms as quickly as possible. The benefits you receive will be based on your initial symptoms and your physiotherapy goals.
- Decreased pain
- Improved range of movement
- Increased strength
- Improved posture
- Prevention of re-injury