Neck & Spine
Your neck and spine are all part of your spinal column but we talk about them as separate areas. Although your spine is made up of 5 areas areas; cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (thorax area), lumbar spine (lower back), sacrum and coccyx (tail bones).
A majority of people’s conditions or injuries normally occur in the cervical and lumbar spine. With over 31 million sick days a year lost to neck and lower back pain in the UK which is predominantly treated with medical management and Physiotherapy.
Headaches can be a very common cause of discomfort. Most people have experienced a headache at
least some point in their lives, but can be caused by different stimuli. Headaches are often divided
into 3 categories:
- Primary: Headaches without apparent identifiable injury i.e migraines, tension headaches
and chronic daily headache
- Secondary: Headaches associated with secondary pathology i.e brain tumour, stroke,
cervical spine injury
- Cranial neuralgias: Headaches caused by an inflammation of the nerves in the upper part of
the neck and the head, causing central and primary facial pain
The most common of these which most people are familiar with are Primary headaches. These
headaches can be linked to stress, posture, skipping meals and dehydration and can affect your
ability to perform day to day activities and participate in your chosen hobbies.
The pain can be eased with analgesia, but lifestyle changes can also help long term. This may
consist of dealing with stress and emotional stimuli, altering your posture at your workspace, and
exercising/stretching the muscles that contribute to the physical tension
Secondary headaches and Cranial Neuralgia symptoms often indicate toward severe pathology. This
is often the brain’s response to a physical insult toward it. Symptoms to look out for if you have a
secondary headache are:
- Sudden and highly severe onset
- Symptoms progressively get worse
- Occurrence after a head injury
- Triggered by coughing, laughing, sneezing, changes in posture or physical activity
- Sudden weakness, slurred speech, confusion, memory loss and drowsiness
If you have any of these symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical advice from your GP or A&E.
Physiotherapy intervention can help you with the management of these headaches or provide long
term relief depending on your type of headache. These techniques often consist of manual therapy,
postural re-education, exercise programme and helping you identify triggering factors. This can
reduce your analgesic intake and help you return to activities that you previously have avoided.
If you would like to discuss how physiotherapy can help with management of your headache
contact us at Physio Motion Limited on 020 3422 6655.
most often caused by an impact accident, such as a road traffic accident or sporting activity.
The initial symptoms of Whiplash present with stiffness, pain and reduced movement of the neck.
This is because of the high velocity movement of the neck causing trauma to the muscles and
surrounding tissues. It is advisable to seek medical assessment after injuries of this magnitude to
rule out any severe pathologies, like spinal fractures.
Whiplash will usually improve on its own, but that is only the case if you move your neck from the
early stages even if the neck is painful. The pain can be subsided with pain killers and antiinflammatory
medication such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.
The main delay to recovery of Whiplash is if the patient does not move their neck through the
available range. By maintaining a static position of the head, the affected muscles and tissues will
continue to seize. This can lead to chronic altered movement patterns and contribute to the pain and
symptoms becoming a long-term issue.
If you are struggling to regain full movement following a whiplash injury, and wish to reduce
muscle tension around the neck, it maybe advisable to sought intervention from a Physiotherapist.
Their intervention will aid your recovery with the use of manual therapy, soft tissue release,
postural re-education and an exercise programme to further assist with your recovery.
If you are suffering with a whiplash injury please contact Physio Motion Limted on 020 3422 6655
and we can discuss help we can help you manage your symptoms.
westernised cultures. Neck pain can be particularly disabling to an individual, especially with the
stigma of necks being seen as ‘fragile’. Being a highly sensitised structure, individuals are often
more aware of neck pain than other distal pain; this contributes to increased stress and a heightened
response to the pain presentation.
There are a huge variety in potential contributors to neck pain, so it is often a challenge to
determine the true source of pain. Your history of the onset of pain is very important in both the
mechanism and severity of onset. For example, short-lasting pain after an awkward sleeping
position can be uncomfortable but often quick to resolve, whereas severe long-lasting unrelenting
pain partnered with other questionable symptoms may require further investigation.
By seeing a Physiotherapist, your neck can be assessed to determine the cause of pain through
movement and physical assessment. With lots of structures around the body influencing to the
neck’s natural movement, your therapist will assess also your movement of neighbouring joints,
such as your back and shoulder complex, to see other potential contributing sources.
Following this assessment, a tailored treatment plan can be established specifically to your
presentation. This will ideally help you onto the path of recovery as well as providing you the tools
and knowledge to manage your condition effectively.
If you would like an assessment of your neck to help identify the triggers of your pain contact
Physio Motion Limited on 020 3422 6655.
Lower back pain is one of the top ten highest burden diseases and injuries in the UK. Back pain is
often more prevalent in individuals aged 30-40 years of age. Typically, lower back pain can be
decided into 3 categories;
- Specific lower back pain
- Non specific lower back pain
- Central mechanisms dominant
Specific Lower Back Pain
Specific lower back pain is where a distinct structure is contributing to a pain presentation with
direct linked causation. An example is a ‘trapped nerve’ causing pain in a specific area of the back,
often relieved when the stimulus is removed.
With specific pain, Physiotherapists can use manual techniques to relieve the particular area and
rehabilitate any contributing movement abnormalities to cause the initial injury.
Non-Specific Lower Back Pain
Non-Specific Lower Back Pain (NSLBP) is the most common diagnosis of back pain in the UK. As
the name suggests, there is no specific structure or pain pattern to identify a certain injury or tissue
cause direct pain. NSLBP often arises from non-physical sources, rather than a certain area of the
spine; this may be Psychological, Cognitive, Social or Lifestyle factors having a physical
manifestation of pain.
Often, people suffering from NSLBP will be offered MRI scans or XRAYs in order to identify a
source. These scans can regularly identify radiological findings for an adult spine as potential
causes of the pain, but these can be ‘Red-Herrings’; the common ‘abnormal’ findings of MRI scans
have been shown to be present in a large number of healthy individuals with no symptoms or any
history of back pain. It has been widely documented that there is no strong correlation between
radiological findings and lower back pain.
These regular findings which are sometimes asymptomatic are:
- Disc degeneration
- Disc height loss
- Disc bulge
- Disc protrusion
- Annular tear (the exterior of a disc tears)
Physiotherapy treatment of NSLBP often consists of providing ways to manage the non-physical
stimuli behind the pain. This may be using counselling techniques to identify the initial
cause of this pain (often related to an emotionally traumatic incident), and then changing the
maladaptive movement patterns and behaviours patients often adopt.
Central mechanism dominant is related to an event happening normally to you, such as a car
driving over a foot. This results in your nervous system becoming sensitive and resulting in your
pain being difficult to manage. Therefore you are unlikely to respond well to manual therapy
techniques to improve your symptoms according to research by Schafer (2008). Patients can
respond well by speaking to a psychologist regarding the injury that caused the lower back pain in
combination to receiving physiotherapy treatment.
If you are currently suffering with lower back pain call Physio Motion Limited on 020 3422 6655.
We can get one of our physiotherapist to help you identify your triggers and provide you with
treatment to effectively manage your pain.
- Tailored exercise programmes
- Trigger point release
- SNAGs, NAGs and MWMs
- Postural re-education
- Gait re-education
- Manual therapy
- Soft tissue release