Types of trauma to the neck (i.e. dangerous vs non-dangerous) play a massive role in whether or not you may need an x-ray (see blog on when to get an x-ray).
Dangerous mechanisms are described in the box below.
- Fall from elevation >3 feet or 5 stairs
- Axial Load to Head, i.e. Diving
- Motor Vehicle Collision >100km/hr, Rollover, Ejection
- Motorised Recreational Vehicles
- Bicycle Struck or Collision
If these have happened, you are likely to have been to the hospital and scanned. However, physios will often check still.
Have you had this pain before?
Neck pain unfortunately tends to be recurring and episodic. Knowing whether or not this has happened to you before allows your physio to predict recovery from this episode better. If it’s your first time with neck pain, getting on top of it soon can prevent it from recurring in the future.
Have you had any treatment on your neck before?
Prior treatments are an essential part of your history. Have you seen a physio before? What did they do? Did you receive chiro, a remedial massage, acupuncture or reiki?
Knowing what you’ve already done and if it has worked more than others, will let your physio formulate a treatment plan. One that doesn’t waste time with therapies that have already been tried and failed.
Do you have any symptoms travelling down your arm?
Pain, tingling or numbness down the arm and into the hands will give your physio guidance on the source of the injury and the type of tissue involved. Specific tissues (nerves, ligaments) will take longer to heal.
What makes your pain worse?
Do specific movements aggravate it? Checking your blind spot? Shaving? Specific patterns give your physio information which helps guide the manual therapy they perform, and the exercises prescribed that reduces your pain immediately.
What do you believe is going on?
A few weeks ago, I spoke to a client who told me his former health care professional told them, that the cause of his neck pain was from a vertebra being 1.5cm forward on the other! And that after 6 weeks of treatment 3 times a week it had moved back to 0.5cm, therefore in better alignment, therefore in less pain. I would need a whole other blog to go through all the issues wrong with that form of treatment/explanation, and lo and behold this person’s neck pain came back, and that’s why they came to physio. So he was worried that his neck had ‘gone out’ again. This is a prime example of poor communication from a therapist.
Dr Google has some really good, and really horrible anxiety-inducing information on it. If you have done some googling on your pain and condition (which is perfectly acceptable these days) make sure you let your physio know. Our years of training and practice allow us to wade through the online swamp and guide you to the correct answer.