About 45% of today’s workers will be affected by neck pain or stiff neck. Although neck pain is about half the prevalence of low back pain, it is still a serious condition that should be treated in order to avoid further injury.
Common causes of neck pain or stiff neck:
- Whiplash due to a car accident, fall or other trauma where the ligaments, muscles, discs and bones can be compromised and injured.
- Arthritis which is joint inflammation and the most common types are osteoarthritis (joint degeneration) and rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that primarily affects joints. The increased inflammation in the joint affects the surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons leading to pain and stiffness.
- Muscle strain, sprain that can be caused by quick movements, repetitive straining, awkward positions or overstretching of ligaments or tendons.
- Herniated discs are vulnerable to being compressed too much, causing a bulge or rupture of the disc itself. The disc material then presses onto the surrounding nerves which causes pain, numbness, tingling and/or muscle weakness. This is called a radiculopathy—a condition caused by compression, inflammation and/or injury to spinal nerve roots. Neck radiculopathy commonly refers symptoms into the shoulder, arm and/or hand.
- Disc degeneration is where the intervertebral discs lose their integrity over time. During the normal aging process, changes in the discs occur which can lead to loss of range of motion, increased stiffness and less cushioning ability.
The combination of Pilates exercises and Physical Therapy can really help ease neck pain! Posture awareness is key to avoiding most symptoms and Pilates training with hands-on Physical Therapy is a powerful duo.