Head & Neck Problems

Neck Pain treatment

Neck Pain

The neck is a particularly complex and sensitive part of the body and when injured can cause very unpleasant and sometimes serious problems.

Obviously the neck can be injured in an accident (such as a sports injury or whiplash) but more often the cause is a gradual buildup of problems due to the stresses and stains of every day life – working at a PC or Laptop is particularly hard on the neck and upper back.

For many people neck pain is something that resolves by itself in a couple of days but for others the problem will need professional assessment and treatment.


The neck is very vulnerable to injury in road traffic accidents although the whole back can be involved.

In most cases of whiplash, it is the soft tissues – that is the muscles and ligaments of the neck – that are affected. It is rare for the bones of the neck to be injured but when this does occur it is usually a more serious injury.

The most common symptoms following a whiplash injury are pain and stiffness in the neck and upper back. Some people will experience associated headaches and facial pains, dizziness or symptoms in to the arms.

The most important thing following a whiplash injury is good relief of pain and restoring normal movement as quickly as possible. Appropriate medication may be painkillers, anti-inflammatory tablets and/or muscle relaxants and these will be prescribed by your GP. Your physiotherapist will then help further with pain relief, regaining movement and getting back to normal activities

Jaw Pain - TMJ Pain

Pain in and around the jaw can occur for a variety of reasons. The proper name for the jaw is the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and problems around this area are often termed Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD).

This joint connects the lower part of the jaw to the skull and the neck and there are often problems in all these areas which contribute to TMJ Disorder. This means that individuals with pain around the jaw may be seen by a variety of health professionals, Physiotherapists, Dentists and Maxillofacial surgeons for example.

It is often difficult to establish exactly why a TMJ Disorder occurs but seemingly innocuous life habits such as chewing gum, biting nails or chewing pencils can all put excessive strain on the jaw.

If there is a problem in the jaw, in addition to pain there may be problems with eating or yawning, clicking or grinding when trying to move the mouth, earache or headache.

A physiotherapist will examine all the areas that could impact on the problem and decide on a course of treatment. This may include gentle mobilisation techniques or massage directed at either the neck or jaw, electrotherapy to relieve inflammation, movement re-education and postural advice and perhaps acupuncture for pain relief.


Dizziness symptoms range from a slight sensation of imbalance right through to severe spinning vertigo. Sufferers may also describe nausea, light-headedness or a cotton wool sensation and may have difficulties in shops or crowds, with moving escalators or on ferries.

Dizziness often follows problems with the inner ear as this will affect the working of the vestibular apparatus, but it may also follow whiplash type injuries to the neck or it may simply build up over time.

As there are many factors which can produce dizziness, treatment can take many forms. Medication can be very useful in the acute phase and many people will benefit from specific procedures applied to the vestibular apparatus.

Where physiotherapy mainly plays a role is in re-educating the balance systems through a system of specific exercises. Your Physiotherapist will take you through a systematic examination to identify which parts of the balance system are not working as they should. Exercises will then be prescribed to improve this.


Most people experience headaches at some point in their lives but for an unfortunate number of people, headaches are either so frequent or so severe that they become a real problem.

The first thing to emphasise is that headaches are very rarely anything serious, although if you are experiencing yet another crushing headache that can be small comfort and difficult to believe.

Most headaches, although severe and unpleasant, are not a sign of anything sinister. A large proportion of headache sufferers will have a problem in the neck that is at least contributing to the headache, if not causing all of it.

Physiotherapy treatment can help relieve these problems with gentle mobilisation and manipulation directed at affected parts of the neck, possibly using acupuncture or electrotherapy and advising in a regime of exercises to improve head posture and strengthen neck muscles.

A small proportion of headaches are a sign that something is seriously wrong but these are usually accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, weight loss, vomiting for example. Chartered physiotherapists are trained to recognise these warning signs and would refer you on rapidly to the most appropriate person.