Neck Pain

What is neck pain?

As more and more people spend their working day at a computer or sat in an office, the neck and shoulder muscles can become stiff or overused.

Other factors such as stress and tiredness can contribute to ongoing neck pain as can osteoarthritis. This can, in turn, cause not only muscular pain from the neck into the shoulder but also some stiffness in moving the neck.

An irritated nerve in your neck can cause some arm pain going down into the hand and may be accompanied by pins and needles and numbness. If you find that your arm is weak you should see your doctor.

On some rare occasions the nerves in your neck may become trapped making it difficult for you to use your hands for tasks such as undoing and doing up buttons or unscrewing jars and can even make you lose your balance when walking. If these symptoms occur you should see your doctor.

Dealing with Neck Pain

The first thing is to try and ease it through movement.

Movement may be sore and may require some painkillers such as ibuprofen and/or paracetamol (read the box or ask your pharmacist for details on how to take them).

If you find that your neck pain is worse after being at work, you may require an assessment of your workstation. Your employer should be able to organise this.

Factors which have been shown to reduce neck pain include getting more/better quality sleep, taking more exercise, and finding time to do relaxing activities such as going for a walk

If your neck pain doesn’t settle you may need some help from your local physiotherapist.

Here is a link to a page on neck pain from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Additional Resources

Patient Resources

Click the link for an information leaflet on neck pain   Neck pain [pdf] 655KB

Self refer into our service

It is important that you apply the advice and guidance provided above for around 8 weeks by which time we would expect you to notice improvement and in some cases complete recovery. If not, we have a team of trained physios who can help.

Self-refer into our service today

Think you need more urgent or emergency treatment? Follow the below guidance to see if you need to see someone quicker. 

Physiotherapy Triage

Physiotherapy Triage Red flag re-direction of patients to A&E/GP consultation

IMPORTANT 'Cauda Equina Syndrome’ although rare, can cause a permanent change to your bladder and/or bowel function, or foot strength.

IF you are suffering with low back pain and if you have any changes regarding the following since your pain started;

  • Bladder or bowel function (i.e., Increasing difficulty when you try to urinate, increasing difficulty when you try to stop or control your flow of urine, loss of sensation when you pass urine, leaking urine or recent need to use pads, inabilityof knowing when your bladder is either full or empty, inability to stop bowel movement or leaking, loss of sensation when you pass a bowel motion)
  • Loss of sensation/tingling around genitals, back passage, buttocks or inner thighs • Erectile or ejaculation problems or loss of sensation in genitals during sexual intercourse
  • Loss of sensation/ tingling or numbness in both legs
  • Weakness in foot (i.e. floppy foot or inability to lift front of foot when walking)

If YES call NHS 111 or go to A&E IMMEDIATELY

If you are suffering with low back pain and if you have any of the following;

  • History of cancer
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling generally unwell/fever/lack of appetite

Please contact with your GP as soon as possible to discuss if other investigations are required rather than self-referring to physiotherapy.

You can also visit your GP for more information and advice on;

  • Women's and men's health including pelvic floor and incontinence
  • If you have had a series of falls and want to learn more to help avoid them
  • If you have reduced mobility and require a stick or frame
  • If you require neurological support for example if you have had a stroke or Parkinson's
  • If you are housebound
  • If you are under 16 years old