This is when the neck muscle fibers are over stretched, strained or torn. This causes pain that results in the muscles going into a protective spasm, limiting your movement and increasing the pain. It is usually only on one side and is worse when you move in to positions that stretch the muscle.
Neck muscular strain can happen suddenly in a traumatic event such as whiplash or it can occur due to strain over time such as bad posture. Sometimes sleeping badly or getting a chill on your neck can cause it.
When standing or sitting slouched, the bend in your upper back and arch in your upper neck increases. In addition your shoulders typically move forwards. This places considerable stretching force on the joints and muscles of your neck and upper back and will gradually cause an ache or pain if sustained for too long. When this occurs the condition is known as postural syndrome.
Treatment for a Neck Muscular Strain
Physiotherapy treatment for patients with this condition is vital to hasten the healing process, ensure an optimal outcome and decrease the likelihood of injury recurrence. Treatment may comprise:
- Joint mobilisation
- Joint manipulation
- Spinal and pelvic realignment
- Dry needling /acupuncture
- Deep tissue massage/myofascial release
- Exercise programs to stretch, self treat and improve proprioception, balance, strength and core stability
- Biomechanical Assessment
- Neural mobilisation
- Education / training advise/ phased return to exercise
- Activity modification advice
- Ice or heat treatment
- Clinical Pilates
- Injection advice