Neck pain covers the area between skull and upper thoracic, it may also involve neuopathic pain & symptoms.
Neck Region Basic Anatomy
Neck is formed by seven cervical vertebraes, it support the skull which is approximately about 6-8% of total body weight. It also help the our cranial to receive sense from the environment, including vision, sound, smell, taste, and etc.
There is atypical vertebrae, from C1 to C2, and typical vertebrae, from C3 to C7. Physiological motions of neck include flexion, extension, side bending and rotation. Neck also perform a convex curvature towards font side. Abnormal neck condition and pain would always relate to reverse curvature of neck, and express as kyphosis
Neck Pain Common Causes
Neck pain conditions can be divided into acute and chronic neck pain. Acute neck pain is defined as the neck pain conditions lasting within 3 to 6 months, and the pain area is limited to the affected soft tissue. Chronic neck pain has the wide spreading characteristic and affecting multi soft tissue simultaneously. It is hypothesised that the lowering of pain threshold, leading to normal tactile stimulation can result in pain.
Common acute neck pain refers to Muscle Strain, Sport Injuries, Acute Torticollis and Whiplash Injury. Chronic neck pain includes Neck Pain Syndrome, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, etc.
Acute Torticollis is characterised by sudden onset of neck single side tightness, self limited and recover spontaneously within 3-4 days. It is usually caused by Acute Muscle Strain or Fibrositis. However, recurrent torticollis may predispose to chronic neck pain syndrome.
Whiplash injury is one of the injury mechanism that causes spinal trauma. Excessive flexion (hyper-flexion), and excessive extension (hyper-extension) can cause bone damage and tearing of muscle and ligaments, resulting in front and behind side soft tissue injuries. It is common seen in motor-vehicle accidents, and it is complicated by its injury mechanics.
Neck Pain Syndrome
Neck Pain Syndrome refer to cluster of neck pain symptoms, various symptoms are determined by soft tissue affected, limited range of motion, nerve root distribution pins and needles, spinal cord compression symptoms, and sympathetic nervous system symptoms.
Here is the precautions when suffering neck pain syndrome:
- Keep neck region warm.
- Keep good sitting posture, avoid sitting on sofa.
- Do gentle neck mobilisation exercise every hour.
- Avoid weight lifting, or it will cause neck muscle tightness again.
- Avoid using tablet or cell phone, and bending neck forward posture would cause neck tightness.
- Improve office working posture, with ergonomic design table and chair.
Fibromyalgia affects about 2% of the population, and it is a non-arthritic rheumatic disease. According to College of American Rheumatology, diagnostic criteria includes number of painful area in 19 parts of body, and severity of following symptoms, including fatigue, waking un-refreshed, cognitive (memory or thought) problems.
How Traditional Chinese Medicine and Physiotherapy Help?
Correct posture, stretching and strengthening techniques.
Acupuncture and dry needling
Pain relief and promote circulation to the affected area.
Release muscle tightness and promote circulation.
Massage and Manual therapy
Release muscle tightness, improve joint alignment and function.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Improve body energy level, prove balance of health.
Promote injured tissue healing, improve function of the affected area
Generally, treatment is based on the stage of patient's condition. For example, aims of treatment in acute stage include pain and inflammation control. While conditions progress into subacute and chronic stage, target would change to swelling subside, recovery of function, and back to premorbid stages.