Practitioners near you who treat neck pain

Neck pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders. It’s usually not serious and often resolves itself with time and patience.

While neck pain can be mild, annoying and last a few days or weeks. Sometimes, it causes a serious and disabling discomfort that persists for years.

Everyone’s experience with neck pain is different. And that’s because the neck is a complicated structure.

There are 7 vertebral bones in your neck. They sit on top of each other and connect via facet joints, discs and ligaments. Muscles move and support all the structures in your neck.

While the body does a good job at protecting your neck, it’s still susceptible to problems.

Structural issues can occur in any of the areas listed above.

Poor posture strains the neck muscles.

Injuries can misalign the neck.

Nerves that flow through the neck can dysfunction.

Infections may settle in the cervical vertebrae (neck area).

Neck pain symptoms may occur only in the neck area. But, they can also radiate down through your shoulders and upper back. The pain may be dull, ache or feel sharp and move in a shooting fashion. In extreme cases, this can impact your ability to move and lift even the lightest objects.

Risk Factors

Studies show that you have an increased risk of neck pain if you’re:

  • Female
  • 40+ years old
  • Highly stressed
  • Inactive
  • Overweight
  • Sleeping on your stomach
  • Using an unsupportive pillow
  • Looking up or down for prolonged periods
  • Often using a computer for long stretches of time.

Having anxiety or depression also increases your risk of neck pain. This is because they alter how the brain registers and processes pain signals. Plus, anxiety and depression are associated with tension in the neck and shoulders.

Neck Pain Diagnosis

If you’re concerned about neck pain, it’s best to have it investigated by a health professional.

Depending on your situation, a Physiotherapist, Chiropractor, Osteopath or Doctor can assess you. They’ll use varying techniques to check your range of movement, strength and posture. Other medical tests can be ordered if needed, including:

  • blood tests
  • x-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI.

Celebrities with Neck Pain

Jennifer Grey, the Dirty Dancing actress, knows what it’s like to suffer with debilitating neck pain.

She was in a horrendous car accident soon after filming of the classic film wrapped. Her injury was so bad that Jennifer couldn’t lift her head up for the next 30 years. She suffered from chronic neck pain and endured many surgeries as neck pain treatment. Physical therapy and neck pain exercises also helped Jennifer’s recovery. Fortunately, she became strong enough to perform in the 2010 version of Dancing With The Stars.

This was great news, however….

Another tragedy struck when Jennifer’s final routine ruptured a disc in her neck. The type of injury left her unaware of what had happened until 9 hours later. Yet again, Jennifer had neck surgery. Luckily, this time, she started feeling better the same day.

Signs and Symptoms

Neck pain symptoms vary depending upon the cause. You may experience one or more of the following:

  • Pain in the neck, shoulders or upper back. The discomfort may be dull, sharp, ache or throb.
  • Restricted neck movement (looking up, down, left, right)
  • Headaches
  • Weakness in the arms or hands
  • Discomfort when holding your neck in one position for a long time
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Visual or auditory changes
  • Difficult swallowing
  • Poor concentration.

Treatments for Neck Pain

Neck pain treatment aims to decrease discomfort and increase mobility. The best neck pain treatments target the cause of the problem and may be as simple as neck pain exercises. Allopathic options can include:

  • Medications:
    • NSAIDs – Anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen and aspirin, can relieve neck pain. They must be used as directed and only in the short term to minimise side effects.
    • Muscle Relaxants – These may be used if NSAIDs don’t work. They help release tension from the muscles, but can also make you sleepy.
  • Antidepressants – Some antidepressant medications can ease chronic neck pain symptoms. They’re useful even if depression isn’t identified as an issue. Antidepressants modulate neurotransmitters, which impacts pain receptors in the brain.
  • Surgery – This is an uncommon option. Though, when it’s needed it helps ease nerve root or spinal cord compression. More complicated surgery may occur if neck pain begins after a serious accident.
  • Steroid Injections – These are injected near nerve roots, into the neck muscles or into spinal joints. They help to ease pain and inflammation, but only last a few months at most.
  • Soft Neck Collar – This alleviates pain by taking pressure off the neck. Best results usually happen when the collar is worn for short bursts of time. Wearing it too often or for longer periods may further decrease neck mobility.
  • Alternative Therapies – Health Practitioners can assess and, in some cases, treat your neck pain. Helpful experts include Physiotherapists, Chiropractors and Osteopaths.

Causes of Neck Pain

Neck pain causes discomfort in the neck, shoulders and/or upper back. This may occur because of:

  • Muscle or ligament strain
  • Poor posture or awkward sleeping position
  • Nerve injury, e.g. compressed nerve
  • Herniated disc in the neck
  • Accidents involving the neck or back, e.g. whiplash
  • Arthritis, e.g. osteoarthritis
  • Degenerative diseases, e.g. osteoporosis
  • Infection in the cervical vertebrae
  • Diabetes
  • Long term stress
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Having fear-avoidance beliefs or a catastrophising mindset.

What Works For Neck Pain – Natural Options

Physiotherapy – This may be the first thing you do when you notice neck pain symptoms. A physio will carefully examine your neck and range of motion to assess your condition. They may give you rest instructions and tips for changing your environment/habits. If you’re ready, they could use massage and show you neck pain exercises to speed your recovery.

Osteopathy – A gentle, hands-on treatment for neck pain symptoms. Osteopathic techniques help to ease inflammation, improve blood flow and free neck joints. Massage and muscle manipulation is usually used.

Chiropractic Care – Involves manipulating the vertebrae in the cervical spine. It’s beneficial if the spine is misaligned or if discomfort relates to poor posture or nerve impingement. Look for chiropractors who specialise in cervical spine health.

Myotherapy – Helps to reduce muscle spasms in the neck, shoulder and upper back. It can provide pain relief and improve the flow of healing nutrients to damaged areas.

Massage – Useful if tight muscles or stress is contributing to your neck pain symptoms. Remedial massage therapy will give you the best results.

Neck Pain Exercises – Gentle neck exercises can help speed your recovery. They encourage blood, oxygen and nutrients to reach the site of healing. Plus, they help you maintain – even improve – your range of motion. Knowing when it’s safe to perform neck pain exercises is key. If you’ve had a neck injury, please consult a healthcare professional before you begin.

Here’s a video for when you’re ready to get started with your neck pain exercises:

Supplements – Vitamins, minerals and herbs can help with pain, inflammation and healing. They’re also a great alternative to medications that have side effects, e.g. NSAIDs.

  • Magnesium – This is a natural muscle relaxant that also has a beneficial effect on nerves. Magnesium has more than 350 functions in the body, so it’s likely to benefit your healing in some way.
  • St John’s Wort – Beneficial if you have neck pain and depression or anxiety. It helps to relieve pain and regulate neurotransmitters in the brain. NB: This is not suitable if you’re using SSRI antidepressant medications.
  • Anti-inflammatory spices – Use these in your cooking or to make a hot drink. Great choices include Turmeric, Ginger, Cardamom, Fennel, Cinnamon.

Acupuncture – Inserting needles into special acupuncture points can benefit many neck pain causes. It improves blood flow, opens energy channels for healing and provides pain relief.

Find A Professional

The following health experts can help with you feel better:

  • Physiotherapists
  • Chiropractors
  • Osteopaths
  • Myotherapists
  • Acupuncturists
  • Massage Therapists
  • Naturopaths
  • Ayurveda Practitioners

Supporting Someone With Neck Pain

Here’s how to support someone with neck pain:

  1. Cold/Hot Packs. Alternating cold and hot packs on the neck and back can help ease suffering. Ask your friend if you can help them with this. Placing packs in the correct position can be difficult if you’re in pain.
  2. Stress Less. Neck pain causes you to feel stressed and frustrated. Do your best to stress less and maintain a calm environment when you’re around your friend. This will benefit their healing and help to keep the peace between the two of you.
  3. Offer Help. Neck pain can stop you from doing everyday tasks. Keeping the house clean can become difficult. Even getting into a comfortable sleeping position can be hard. Offer to help where you can and be patient when assisting.


What are 5 neck pain causes?

  • Muscle or ligament strain
  • Poor posture
  • Nerve injury, e.g. compressed nerve
  • Accidents involving the neck, e.g. whiplash
  • Arthritis, e.g. osteoarthritis


What are good neck pain treatments?

  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic Care
  • Osteopathy
  • Myotherapy
  • Massage
  • Supplements, e.g. Magnesium, Turmeric
  • Alternating hot and cold packs.


How do I know if my neck pain is serious?

Neck pain often heals by itself over a period of days or weeks. However, it’s important to see your doctor if your suffering:

  1. Is severe
  2. Continues to get worse
  3. Remains after several weeks of self-care
  4. Travels down your arms or legs
  5. Also brings headaches, weakness, fevers/chills, numbness, tingling.

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