- Slipped Disc in Neck
(Cervical Disc Prolapse)
- Slipped Disc in Neck
(Whiplash Associated Disorder – WAD)
- Stiff Neck
- What can you do? Consult SPORTS THERAPY SCOTLAND for the treatment of neck pain in the Sports Injury Clinic in Stirling.Relieve pressure on the discs in the neck (under professional guidance)When the symptoms appear, the patient should rest and take pain-relieving medication. Anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by a doctor is usually very effective. A Neck Collar (a soft collar which supports the neck and prevents movement) can be very helpful in the early stages of this injury.It removes stresses on the neck and restricts any painful movements. Similarly, a Neck Pain Pillow can be helpful to get the correct neck alignment and avoid neck pain when lying in bed.Some treatments can be very effective for a slipped disc in the neck. Heat Packs and gentle massage are used for neck pain relief and to relieve muscle spasm. Manual therapy techniques gently mobilise the vertebra to help restore normal neck movement.’Traction’ is a very effective treatment for neck and arm pain due to a slipped disc in the neck. It refers to an upward pulling force, which lengthens the neck and relieves pressure on the discs in the neck.By relieving pressure on the discs it helps the prolapsed disc material to shrink back into the body of the disc. This removes pressure on the nerve roots and alleviates the neck and arm symptoms in over 70% of patients.Traction can be applied manually by a therapist,If the symptoms do not resolve with conservative treatment it may be necessary to see an Orthopaedic Consultant. Surgery should be considered in cases where there is intractable pain that is affecting the quality of life.Stiff Neck in Depth
AKA: Wry Neck, Acute TorticollisCommon Signs & Symptoms
Pain Swelling Stiffness Weakness Instability Locking
Stiff Neck Injury Explained
A stiff neck is an extremely common symptom, which may be caused by a variety of neck conditions. The symptoms of neck pain and stiffness, which decreases neck movement, can be secondary to several problems, such as a Disc Prolapse (Slipped Disc), a facet joint problem, an undiagnosed Cervical Fracture (Broken Neck), or another neck problem.
The stiff neck is usually caused by muscle spasm in the neck muscles. This spasm can cause neck pain in addition to any underlying neck problem. In infants, a stiff neck is called ‘Congenital Muscular Torticollis’, which is an inherited disorder of the neck muscles. In adults, muscle spasm in the neck, leading to a stiff neck, is usually a protective mechanism which is secondary to an underlying neck problem. This is referred to as ‘Acute Torticollis’ or ‘Wry Neck’.
- Stiff Neck Signs & Symptoms
In most cases of Acute Torticollis or Wry Neck, the person wakes up with the painful stiff neck, although occasionally the neck may become stuck following a sudden movement. The head will be held to one side and the neck is too painful to move. Attempting to move the neck will usually make the neck pain worse. In some cases, the pain will radiate up the neck or down to the shoulder area. There may be a painful spasm in the neck muscles.
Stiff Neck Treatment
What you can do? Consult SPORTS THERAPY SCOTLAND
Because the cause of Acute Torticollis is not known for sure, it is important to rule out injury to the discs in the neck or degenerative conditions of the neck. To do this is it best to see a doctor and, if necessary, a referral will be made to a specialist. Once it has been established with investigations, such as an x-ray and MRI scan of the neck, that there is no serious underlying problem, the stiff neck can be referred for treatment with a therapist.
No treatment, particularly manual treatment and manipulations should be started before the cause of the stiff neck has been established. There are case reports that describe quadriplegia (paralysis from the neck down) in patients who underwent chiropractic manipulation when a serious, previously undiagnosed neck problem, was present.
- Gentle massage and mobilisations by a therapist are effective forms of treatment for a stiff neck. This involves the therapist gently applying pressure to each vertebra in the neck in order to loosen them and allow a greater range of movement. Another helpful treatment is the use of a Heat Pack. Heat Packs have the effect of relaxing the muscles that had previously been in spasm. Gentle stretching exercises can also be beneficial in alleviating muscle spasm in the neck.
Stiff Neck Prevention
What you can doUse a supportive neck pillow at night to promote correct neck alignment
Obviously, with Congenital Muscular Torticollis, there is no prevention strategy. In Acute Torticollis, good posture, particularly keeping the neck in supported position when working, can help to prevent a stiff neck. This is because the neck stiffness and protective muscle spasm is usually as a result of an underlying neck problem. Good posture can help to avoid these conditions such as Arthritis of the neck and disc problems. In people who already have neck problems, lying down in bed may aggravate their neck pain and lead to more neck muscle spasm. This, in turn, can lead to more neck pain and further spasm. A supporting Neck Pain Pillow can be effective at providing support for the head and neck, which prevents this vicious cycle from developing.
Whiplash in Depth
AKA: Whiplash Associated Disorder, WAD
Whiplash Injury Explained
Whiplash is a common cause of neck pain, which can also cause shoulder and arm pain. Occasionally Whiplash occurs as a result of sporting trauma, but more often it is a consequence of an automobile accident. The more correct term for Whiplash is a deceleration injury because it is often caused by the head decelerating in relation to the body, causing damage to the soft tissues of the neck.
The damage caused will depend upon whether the passenger was involved in a head-on or a rear-end collision. In a head-on collision, the neck and head continue to move forward whilst the body is stopped suddenly. The head only stops moving forward when the chin makes contact with the chest. This has the effect of stretching the structures at the back of the neck, namely ligaments and muscles.
In the case of a rear-end collision, the head and neck are thrown back in relation to the body and the stretch is applied to muscles at the front of the neck. Joints at the back of the neck called facet joints are compressed and can also be damaged.
In either of these two methods of injury, if the force applied is severe enough there may be damage to the discs in the neck; the nerves from the spinal cord may be damaged, blood vessels may be damaged and there may even be bone injury.
Whiplash Signs & Symptoms
Immediately following the injury the neck pain may not be too severe. However, neck pain and neck stiffness gradually increase, usually reaching its worst point the day after the incident occurs. There may also be shoulder pain and pain down the back.
If the nerves in the neck have been damaged, the patient may experience tingling or numbness down the arms and hands. The patient may also experience weakness in the arms and hands and may drop objects such as cups. If any of these symptoms develop or become worse, the patient should return to accident and emergency to be checked by a doctor.
Other after-effects of a whiplash injury may include headaches, dizziness, slightly red eyes, facial tingling, hearing problems and throat pain. These are not usually serious, but the patient should always be checked by their doctor.
What you can do
Consult SPORTS THERAPY SCOTLAND
All whiplash type injuries and neck pain should be checked by a doctor in the accident and emergency department. A Soft Collar is usually the first part of treatment for a whiplash injury. This takes the strain of the weight of the head off the ligaments and muscles of the neck.
In the early stages, pain-relieving medication prescribed by a doctor is the most effective form of neck pain relief. Once the doctor is satisfied the damage is restricted to soft tissues, the patient is referred to a qualified therapist for ongoing whiplash treatment.
Soothing Heat Packs can provide neck pain relief. The warmth has a soothing effect and helps to get rid of the neck muscle spasm that is often present.
As soon as neck pain allows, the therapist will encourage the patient to remove the soft collar and begin moving the neck. Although this can be very uncomfortable at first, these exercises are the best way of reducing the neck pain and stiffness.
Following a Whiplash injury, lying down to sleep can often exacerbate neck pain if there is insufficient support. A Neck Pain Pillow can provide contoured support for the head and neck, allowing the user to rest the muscles of the neck and get a pain free night of sleep.
Make sure the head restraints in your car are in the appropriate position to support the head in the event of a rear-end collision. Decreasing driving speed and leaving adequate distance between you and the car in front is an effective whiplash prevention strategy because breaking suddenly is a major cause of rear-end collisions.
All neck pain conditions treated at Injury Clinic in Stirling.