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Peak Physical Therapy
Helping you every step of the way


Happy New Year from all of us at Peak Physical Therapy!

We hope that you had an enjoyable holiday season!  We wish you and your family a happy and healthy 2011.

In this edition of our newsletter, we will discuss some of the causes of neck pain, describe why the pain occurs and provide tips on how to avoid neck pain during work and daily activites.

 Do You Know What Causes Neck Pain?

 The saying "a pain in the neck" is commonly used to describe a symptom or experience that is annoying or unpleasant, and with good reason!  Neck pain is not fun and it can be downright debilitating.  Unfortunately it is something that most people will experience in their life time.  In fact, 75% of the population have experienced neck pain at some point [1].  The three main categories of neck pain causes are:

  • Overuse due to Poor Posture          
  • Injury          
  • Disease

Overuse of certain muscles can occur during everyday life.  If your body is not in proper posture, your muscles have to work overtime, they become fatigued, strained and finally pain sets in.  For example, if you sit incorrectly at your computer or hunch over the steering wheel when you drive, you are putting a strain on your neck muscles. 

  This type of neck pain can be prevented.  Creating a work space that is ergonomically correct will help keep you in good posture and prevent overuse.  For example; make sure your chair, keyboard and monitor is at the right height and angle to keep your back, shoulders, neck and head in proper alignment. Check out the links to the articles below for some helpful tips!

Other ways to eliminate or reduce neck pain include periodically taking breaks from sustained postures, stretching, and exercising. If you are experiencing neck pain from overuse, and ergonomic or posture changes are unable to give you the relief you need, a proper physiotherapy program can help. 

Desk jobs are not just to blame; work that requires a lot of moving, stretching or spending a majority of time with your arms at or above chest level can also cause overuse [1].

 View our articles on:

Injuriesalso cause neck pain.  A neck injury can happen suddenly, as in the case of a car crash, or over time due to overuse.  If you do experience a neck injury, see a doctor or physiotherapist.  Don't wait for the injury to "get better on its own".  Even if you aren’t in great pain now, getting help early on will ensure that the injury does not become worse. 

Disease can also cause neck pain.  Meningitis, rheumatoid arthritis and in very rare cases, cancer can cause neck pain.  If you have pain in your neck that cannot be explained by an injury or overuse, see your doctor to rule out disease as the source. 

 If your neck pain is severe, or if you can’t get relief from the methods mentioned above, you may benefit from a visit to a physiotherapist.  Studies have shown that physiotherapy along with an exercise regime gives the most relief to people experiencing neck pain [3]. Working with a trained, licensed physiotherapist can reduce or eliminate neck pain.  Also, your physiotherapist will educate you in the proper habits that will keep you pain free.  Call the physiotherapists at Peak Physical Therapy and make an appointment.  We will be happy to help you find out if physiotherapy is right for you!

1.  Binder AI. Cervical spondylosis and neck pain. BMJ. 2007;334(7592):527-31.  
2.  Ariëns GA, Bongers PM, Hoogendoorn WE, Houtman IL, van der Wal G, van Mechelen W. High quantitative job demands and low coworker support as risk factors for neck pain: results of a prospective cohort study. Spine. 2001;26(17):1896-901. 
3.  Hoving JL, Koes BW, de Vet HC, et al. Manual therapy, physical therapy, or continued care by a general practitioner for patients with neck pain. A randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. 2002;136 (10):713-22. 

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