A recent publication presented on neck pain has categorised acute neck pain into 2 categories.
- Work related
- Trauma related
A large majority of neck pain cases we see in clinic are work related and are cases that could have easily been prevented.
The classic statement from a patient…..“I had noticed some tightness in my shoulder at work, but I thought it would just go away”
Unless it is addressed, it will not just go away!
Here are the 3 MOST common early signs of neck pain and headachesthat, if addressed can PREVENT pain from presenting.
- Tightness in the shoulder/ tension around the shoulders.
A lot of people put this down to stress and being busy at work. That is correct, however, the major contributor to muscle tightness and tension around the shoulders is due to prolonged poor postures whether it be sitting or standing.
Muscle tightness will start in your trapeziusmuscles on top of your collar bones. Another classic sign of muscle tightness is pain and burning at the corner of your shoulder blade where your lavator scapulaemuscles attaches. You may also notice pain and tightness in the muscles between your spine and shoulder blades.
- Muscle tightness in the neck and base of skull.
As the majority of postural muscles in and around your shoulders and shoulder blades attach onto the neck vertebra and base of skull, these muscles can cause tightness in your neck and in particularly the base of scull. You also have very small occipital musclesthat attach from the top neck vertebrae into the base of skull. If you’re getting pain and tightness at the base of skull you’re in headache territory.
- Movement restriction when rotating your head side to side.
This is generally your final warning before the onset of neck pain and headaches (if they haven’t already started). Restriction with rotation is most common and due to the muscle shortening and not allowing the joints to move through their full range.
By being aware of the early signs that WILL result in neck pain and/or headaches, you can prevent it. Don’t be that patient that sits in front with a stiff, painful neck and searing headache that medication doesn’t touch, and say “I had noticed some tightness in my shoulder at work, but I thought it would just go away".
If you are experiencing neck pain and or headaches unfortunately, you didn't pick up on the early signs. It is recommended you seek the advice of one of our highly experienced Physiotherapists who can get you out of pain and give you the tools to prevent future episodes of pain and/or headaches.