Neck pain is ranked fourth highest in terms of years lived with disability. The prevalence of neck pain is on the increase due to our time spent working and time spent on devices, and this is now being observed in children. Worryingly, between 50% and 85% of those who experience neck pain will report a re-occurrence of symptoms 1-5 years later. 30% of patients with neck pain will develop chronic symptoms, and 37% will report persistent problems for at least 12 months.
Risk factors for neck pain include genetics, mental health problems, sleep disorders, smoking, and sedentary lifestyles. A history of neck pain, trauma (whiplash), and some sporting injuries offer greater chances of developing neck pain.
With most injuries, restoration of function is crucial, and recovery from mechanical neck problems is no exception. A study looked into the effects of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (a stretching technique) and passive vertebral mobilisation for neck disability in patients with mechanical neck pain. Results revealed a significant improvement in the passive vertebral mobilisation group when compared to routine physical therapy and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation groups.
Early intervention for mechanical neck pain is crucial for reducing pain, and improving overall quality of life. You are also less likely to develop chronic symptoms which can then persist for months and years.
Ashfaq, M. et al. (2022). Comparative effectiveness of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and passive vertebral mobilisation for neck disability in patients with mechanical neck pain: A randomised controlled trial. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. 31: 16-21.