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Physical therapy for neck pain.

Neck pain can come on suddenly or slowly. Sometimes you notice that certain movements, such as looking back, no longer go well or are even impossible for a while. The pain is often nagging and worsens with movement or a certain posture. Sometimes the pain radiates to the entire arm or even the hand. But the radiation can also consist of tingling of the arm and a dull feeling of the hand. It is also possible for headaches to develop as a result of neck pain.

Anatomy of the neck

The neck spine consists of various muscles, nerves and joints. The neck spine consists of 7 vertebrae. These vertebrae are often abbreviated as C1 through C7. When we look at the neck, we see a natural curvature. The joints in the neck are called facet joints. The facet joints in the neck allow you to bend, stretch and twist in the neck. Between all these vertebrae are intervertebral discs. Intervertebral discs are of a softer structure and their function is to allow the vertebrae to move smoothly among themselves. In addition to movement, the intervertebral disc also plays an important role in the stability and shock absorption of in the neck. There are many muscles in the neck. The function of these muscles is to move and stabilize the spine during movements. There are muscles that run from vertebra to vertebra but also muscles that run over the entire spine. Anatomically, a distinction is made between a local muscle system and a global muscle system. From the different vertebrae nerves run from the neck into the arm. Nerves have a controlling function towards the muscles in the arm. This is where stimuli from the brain go to the muscles. This makes movement possible. In addition, they also have a sensory function. This means that information such as pain, temperature, pressure and movement stimuli go from the arm to the brain. 

Tilburg Physio

Cause of neck pain

The vast majority of neck pain has no obvious cause. This does not mean that there is nothing to treat but the reason for the pain cannot be pinpointed via an X-ray or MRI, for example. The cause of these neck pains is often in the muscles or joints.

Osteoarthritis symptoms of the neck become more common as we age. In particular, we see that the intervertebral discs show signs of aging. Possibly this leads to complaints.

Sometimes a neck hernia is the cause of the symptoms. Often these complaints also go away with the help of physiotherapy. A neck hernia involves pressure on the nerve running from the neck to the arm. Generally speaking, the symptoms in the arm are more prominent than the neck pain itself. So you have more pain in your arm than pain in the neck. This often involves a sharp clear pain running into the arm.

Osteoarthritis symptoms in the neck become more common as we age. In particular, we see that the intervertebral discs show signs of aging. Osteoarthritis of the spinal canal is also possible. We call this a dan stenosis. Osteoarthritis is not always a reason for pain in the neck. But when the symptoms match the image on an X-ray, the cause of the pain may well be due to osteoarthritis in the neck. 

Common causes

Non-specific Neck Pain

Nonspecific neck pain, which often subsides within 6 weeks, can present with various symptoms such as pain and stiffness. Treatment, usually a mix of pain relief and exercise therapy, is tailored to personal needs. These symptoms are not severe and their exact cause is often unclear, which can range from daily activities to postural problems. Physical therapists, especially manual therapists, play a crucial role in assisting patients with these complaints.

Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy, often seen in people between the ages of 40 and 60, is caused by pressure on a nerve root in the neck, usually from a herniated disc or bone proliferation. Symptoms include radiating pain, tingling, and muscle weakness. Diagnosis is made through an interview and physical examination, and treatment focuses on pain relief, mobilization, and exercise therapy. With physical therapy, most patients are symptom-free within four to six months without surgery.


Physical therapy and neck pain

During the examination, we look at what possible factors are contributing to your neck pain. Based on the examination and interview, a clear treatment plan will be drawn up. Continued movement is very important to maintain the mobility of your neck. We find it very important that you understand how the symptoms arise and what you can take into account to recover as quickly as possible! In addition to specific advice, treatment can include increasing the mobility of the neck through manual therapy, various muscle techniques and training the muscles through exercise therapy and physical training.

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