Platinum Physiotherapy
Cardiff Bay Physio
Cardiff Bay Physio
Cardiff Bay Physio

Head and Neck

Head and Neck

Head and neck pain is an extremely common condition and there are many recognisable symptoms associated with it. Neck pain is often associated with headaches and can also refer pain to the shoulder and arm.

Our physiotherapists at Platinum Physiotherapy provide comprehensive assessment and treatment for head and neck conditions including:

Your treatment program at Platinum Physiotherapy will be tailored to your individual needs to ensure reach you maximum physical potential and continue to enjoy everyday and sporting activities.

Headaches

Headaches affect approximately two-thirds of the population. Headaches are often seen in those with poor posture, office workers and people under stress. This kind of headache is called a ‘cervical headache’.

Cervical headaches are caused by the stiffness and tightness of the joints, muscles, fascia and nerves in the neck, presenting as a constant, steady, dull ache, often on the forehead, temples or the back of the head.
Bogduk N & Govind J. Cervicogenic headache: An assessment of the evidence on clinical diagnosis, invasive tests, and treatment. The Lancet Neurology. 2009; 8(10): 959-968.

Cervical headaches are caused by the stiffness and tightness of the joints, muscles, fascia and nerves in the neck, presenting as a constant, steady, dull ache, often on the forehead, temples or the back of the head. This can occur following direct trauma, such as a ‘whiplash’ injury or repetitive trauma at work or during sporting activities. The onset is usually gradual and may be present for days, weeks or months and is often associated with neck pain and stiffness.

A person working for long periods at a desk with a poor posture is also at risk of developing a cervical headache. Maintaining a poor posture for long periods can lead to tight muscles and joints in the neck, shoulders and upper back which in turn manifest themselves as a headache. The diagram to the right shows the areas of pain that can be associated with different levels of the neck.

What are the symptoms/effects of a Headache?

Common symptoms of a headache include:

  • Pain at the back and base of the skull, sometimes extending down to the neck and between the shoulder blades
  • Pain behind the eyebrows and forehead
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased sensitive to light and sound

Physiotherapy for Headaches

At Platinum Physiotherapy we commonly assess and treat people suffering from headaches following trauma or due to poor posture. A person with headaches is likely to benefit from physiotherapy treatment if the cause of the problem is the neck. Our physiotherapists at Platinum Physiotherapy, will initially look at your current symptoms including pain, range of movement, muscle strength and function, in order to develop a specialised treatment program suited to you.

Physiotherapy treatment will depend on your needs and lifestyle but may include:

  • Mobilisation and manipulation of the joints in the neck
  • Stretching and strengthening of the muscles in the neck
  • Massage to tight muscles in the neck and shoulders Postural retraining
  • Ergonomic workstation assessment and advice

Your physiotherapist at Platinum Physiotherapy will guide and support you through your rehabilitation program to correct the current problem and prevent further headache recurrence.

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Acute wry neck pain (Torticollis)

What is Acute wry neck pain? 

Acute wry neck pain (Torticollis)  is a common and very painful injury characterised by a sudden onset of sharp neck pain with limitation of movement. It commonly occurs during a sudden quick movement or on waking.

What causes Acute wry neck pain? 

It is unclear what the exact cause of acute wry neck pain is. It may result from a minor injury or simply sleeping with the neck in an unusual position. It is thought that the joints in the neck become jammed or locked, which results in pain and muscle spasm.

Diagnosis of Acute wry neck pain

Your physiotherapist will usually be able to diagnose acute wry neck pain from the description of the pain, and by examining you.

What are the symptoms/effects of Acute wry neck pain? 

  • Pain
  • Unable to turn head, usually holding it twisted to one side,
  • Muscle spasms

Physiotherapy for Acute wry neck pain

Physiotherapy treatment at Platinum Physiotherapy will help relieve pain and keep your neck moving as normally, so that you make a full recovery as soon as possible.

Your physiotherapist will prevent your neck from stiffening up and provide you with gentle exercises to gradually increase your range of movement.

Physiotherapy treatment at Platinum Physiotherapy will depend on your current symptoms but may include:

  • Advice on painkillers and anti-inflammatories
  • Soft tissue massage to relieve pain and muscle spasm
  • Heat therapy to relieve stiffness
  • Ultrasound to promote healing
  • Active and passive range of movement exercises to improve range of movement and prevent stiffness
  • Postural advice to check that you are sitting appropriately at work or at the computer

Your physiotherapist will ensure your treatment program is tailored to you to ensure you make the best possible recovery and continue to improve in the long term.

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Cervical postural syndrome

“For every inch of Forward Head Posture, it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds.” Kapandji, Physiology of Joints, Vol. 3

The most common neck pathology seen by Platinum Physiotherapy is “cervical postural syndrome”. This condition is characterised by a protruding chin and rounded shoulders. A common complaint is that of burning or aching across the neck and shoulders. Pain is aggravated by maintaining one position for long periods. Office workers who work at a computer are most likely to suffer from this condition.

While benefiting from physiotherapy treatment to address the various abnormalities associated with this condition, people also benefit from an ergonomic workstation assessment from one of our specialised physiotherapists at Platinum Physiotherapy

What causes cervical postural syndrome?

Cervical postural syndrome is caused by adopting poor posture over a prolonged period of time. This may occur during sitting (e.g. at a computer or driving) or during everyday activities such as cooking and cleaning.

Muscle imbalance may also contribute to poor posture. Imbalance of muscles in the upper back and neck means that the pectoralis major muscle in the front of your chest and the muscles in the back of the neck are shortened and tight. The muscles at the back of the shoulders and upper back (trapezius, latissimus dorsi and rhomboids) are weakened and stretched.

Diagnosis of cervical postural syndrome

A thorough subjective and objective examination from a physiotherapist will diagnose cervical postural syndrome.

What are the symptoms/effects of cervical postural syndrome?

Symptoms are usually worse when poor posture is maintained for a long period of time and may include:

  • Dull ache
  • Burning pain in the neck , upper back or shoulders
  • Headaches

Physiotherapy for cervical postural syndrome 

Physiotherapy treatment relieve pain and stiffness and identify any factors at home or work that may be contributing to cervical postural syndrome.

An ergonomic work station assessment at Platinum Physiotherapy will benefit a person with cervical postural syndrome, who experiences symptoms when sitting at desk. Your physiotherapist will develop a treatment program which will include advice and exercise to improve flexibility, strength, activity tolerance and to ensure the neck is functioning correctly.

Physiotherapy treatment may also include:

  • Advice on how to achieve a good posture in lying, sitting and standing
  • Range of exercises to strengthen weak muscles and stretch stiff muscles
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Ultrasound
  • Core stability work
  • Ergonomic advice

Physiotherapy treatment at Platinum Physiotherapy will significantly improve your posture, ensure an optimal outcome and prevent recurrence.

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Nerve root pain

What is nerve root pain?

Acute nerve root pain is a condition characterised by arm pain, often in combination with numbness and/or pins and needles. The patient may or may not experience pain in the neck itself.

What causes nerve root pain? 

Nerve root pain can be caused by direct pressure from a prolapsed disc or degenerative changes in the cervical spine that causes irritation and inflammation of the nerve roots.

When the nerve root is compressed or irritated this results in a pattern of pain and numbness in your arms and hands in the area of skin supplied the by sensory fibers of the nerve root, and weakness in the muscles that are also supplied by the same nerve root.

The symptoms of nerve root pain may include:

  • Pain
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Pins and needles
  • Muscle weakness
  • Reduced range of movement

Physiotherapy for nerve root pain

Physiotherapy treatment at Platinum Physiotherapy will be tailored to your own specific condition to reduce pain and get you back to a level you were previously safely and effectively.

Your physiotherapist will assess your current symptoms, including range of movement and muscle strength and ability with functional activities to help guide a structured rehabilitation program which may include:

  • Mobilisation and manipulation of the neck
  • Stretching and strengthening of the neck musculature
  • Massage to relieve tight muscles in the neck and shoulders
  • Postural retraining

Your physiotherapist will ensure your treatment program is tailored to you, to ensure you make the best possible recovery and continue to improve in the long term.

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Stiff Neck

What is a Stiff neck?

A stiff neck is a condition that causes stiffness, immobility and pain to the neck that may originate from any of the structures in the neck. These structures include muscles and nerves as well as spinal vertebrae and the cushioning discs in between. Neck pain may also come from regions near the neck, like the shoulder, jaw, head, and upper arms.

What causes a Stiff neck?

A common cause of a stiff neck is muscle strain or tension. Usually, everyday activities are to blame. Such activities include bending over a desk for hours, having poor posture while watching TV or reading, placing your computer monitor too high or too low, sleeping in an uncomfortable position, or twisting and turning the neck in a jarring manner while exercising. Traumatic accidents or falls can cause severe neck injuries like vertebral fractures, whiplash, blood vessel injury, and even paralysis.

What are the symptoms of a Stiff neck?

  • Symptoms of a stiff neck include:
  • Pain
  • Difficulty moving your neck, especially to one side.
  • Muscle spasm
  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm or hand if a nerve is being irritated

Physiotherapy treatment for a Stiff neck?

Physiotherapy treatment will relieve pain and stiffness and improve your physical function making everyday activities, work and sleeping easier and more manageable.

Your physiotherapist at Platinum Physiotherapy will initially assess your pain, range of movement and strength in order to develop a structured rehabilitation program which may include:

  • Exercise programmes and stretches to improve range of movement and strength
  • Gently soft tissue massage to promote healing
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Postural and sleeping advice and adaptations.

Physiotherapy treatment will restore you functional ability so that you can return to daily tasks with confidence and independence.

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Whiplash

What is Whiplash?

“Whiplash syndrome” is the name given to a group of neck pain syndromes most commonly resulting from rear-end vehicle impacts. Permanent damage is uncommon and your long-term outlook is good. Whiplash injuries are not usually serious and do not involve damage to the bones, discs or nerves in the neck.

The cause of pain in the acute (recent) stage after whiplash may be acute muscle injury, but there can be other significant injuries depending on the force of the injury. These can include spinal fracture, haematomas (bleeding into the tissues) and nerve damage.

What causes Whiplash? 

Whiplash is commonly caused by sudden, violent, backward jerk of the head or neck as the result of a rear end motor collision that includes sudden acceleration or deceleration.

As well as road accidents, whiplash may also be caused by:

  • a sudden blow to the head – for example, during contact sports such as boxing or rugby
  • a slip or fall where the head is suddenly and violently jolted backwards
  • being struck on the head by a heavy or solid object.

What are the effects/symptoms of Whiplash?

Most people report pain in the back of the neck which is worse on movement. Pain may radiate up to the head, across to the shoulders, arms or between the shoulder blades. Headaches are typically at the back of the head and spread forwards over the head.

Other, less common symptoms can be:

  • Disturbances of eyesight
  • Problems with balance and dizziness
  • Weakness and heaviness in the arms
  • Pins and needles on the inner sides of the hands
  • Hoarseness and difficulty swallowing and eating
  • Disturbances of hearing

Additionally, some bruising may occur in the seatbelt area. If rotation or turning of the neck is involved, then other structures in the neck may be affected, such as the nerves which pass between the vertebrae and out to the arm.

Physiotherapy for Whiplash

Our specialised physiotherapists at Platinum Physiotherapy are experienced in dealing with whiplash and will use a variety of techniques to alleviate your pain and return you to full levels of activity. It is important to start treatment early to speed up recovery.

Your physiotherapist will initially assess your physical symptoms following your accident and ensure treatment is tailored to these findings. Treatments used may include:

  • Use of ice to decrease inflammation
  • Advice on painkillers and anti-inflammatories
  • Active and passive range of movement exercises to promote healing and relieve pain and stiffness
  • Progressive exercises (including stretches, strengthening and conditioning)
  • Soft tissue massage to promote recovery
  • Joint mobilisation
  • Ultrasound and electrical stimulation
  • Postural alignment training
  • Detailed reports for insurance companies if necessary

Your personalised rehabilitation program is normally between 4 and 8 weeks in length depending on your needs.

Platinum Physiotherapy stress the importance of proper care after injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident and encourage each patient to follow their instructions closely, following through with every component of the program, to ensure the best possible recovery.

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