The common phrase "pain in the neck" has become a cliché because it is used so often to describe someone or something that is a constant irritation. However, neck pain and headaches are more than just irritating. They can be downright painful. The neck includes the bones and joints of the cervical spine; shock-absorbing discs that separate the bones of the cervical vertebrae; the muscles and ligaments that hold the cervical spine together. Neck pain may be felt at the base of the skull and spread across the shoulder on one side and even down the arm. It may also lead to headaches. The pain may feel like a kink or stiffness in the neck or severe pain. A range of motion may be limited, usually more to one side than the other, making it difficult to drive or look over the shoulder. Neck pain may be caused by bad posture, normal wear, and tear, overuse or injury. Bad posture is one of the main contributors of neck pain and sometimes headaches. The rule is to keep the head in a neutral position. In some offices the computer may be at a much higher level than the head, causing the individual to look up for extended periods. When whiplash occurs, a cervical collar may have to be worn in order to rest the neck and heal the inflammation. A physiotherapy program consisting of strengthening and range of motion exercises will follow. Treatment for neck pain requires careful diagnosis and physiotherapy treatment depending on the condition. The goal of physiotherapy is to help one return to prior level of functioning and assist in living a pain-free life.
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