Neck Pain – sports and the bigger picture
I do quite a few radio interviews myself here on the coast, so I was fascinated to hear a fellow physiotherapist give a radio interview. David Peirce from Pondera Physiotherapy talked on Brisbane radio about neck pain and makes some interesting points. You can listen to his interview and I’ve highlighted some of the key points he makes below.
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The first point he makes is in relation to a recent news story regarding an Australian footballer who fractured his spine after a collision in a match. And so we start with impact injuries.
Now these don’t just happen in sports obviously, whiplash from car accidents is the most well known. But what we do forget is that these injuries happen in other areas of life – that any fall can cause a huge impact injury to the neck and the precious spinal cord within it. And sports people, as they are more active generally, can be at risk of this unknowing.
But then he goes on to talk about technology and it’s impact on neck pain (I’ve got a whole article to write on that!) and makes, for me, a key point that while we as adults often realise the impact on our bodies of sitting for long hours at a keyboard we often forget about our kids crouched over tablets and smart phones.
All this leads into a really important section on how to treat. And a key part of this is reducing the load on the neck, getting the body into a position of “least load” aka good posture. David stresses at several points throughout the interview how, by realigning and releasing the load elsewhere in the spine you can relieve neck pain without actually having to lay a finger on the neck. He’s a clever chap this David!
You must include the body below the neck to relieve the pressure on the neck. Again and again I go on like a broken record about the importance of a proper, thorough, clinical assessment of the entire patient – just because you feel pain “here” doesn’t mean that the cause of the pain is “here”. And if you don’t treat the cause . . . . well you can spend months having the best treatment but if it’s in the wrong place you won’t get better!
He also makes an interesting point, particularly in a time where MRIs and X-rays are the first action taken by any doctor, to stress that no structural damage doesn’t mean no pain. The neck can be “perfect” and you can still feel pain/discomfort from this area. Which goes back to my point about that you must find the root cause of the problem, not just treat the painful symptoms.
A fascinating interview from, in my opinion, a very smart chap.