Causes of neck pain with treatment at the Physio Naas & Newbridge, Co. Kildare. Chartered Physio and Chiropractor

Neck Pain: Ross Allen is Ireland’s only dual-qualified Chartered Physiotherapist & Chiropractor



Back Pain Specialist:

  • Ross has been treating back pain since 2002 & has extensive experience working in some of the top pain clinics in Ireland.
  • Ross’s passion & lifetime commitment to helping others who are suffering with back pain is based on his own personal experience & frustration in seeking help for the condition.
  • Ross’s educational background has facilitated a considerable research focus on chronic back pain management & rehabilitation.

To book an appointment call Naas Physio Clinic on:
(045) 874 682 

What are the causes of Neck Pain or Injury?

The neck (cervical spine) acts to position the head in space. The neck is frequently viewed as two separate components: the upper neck just below the base of the skull and the lower neck or cervical spine running down as far as the chest cavity. The majority of rotation occurs in the upper part of the neck & patients with difficulty turning their head side to side will often demonstrate dysfunction in this part of the spine. The fact that the neck acts to support the head leaves it open to injury when traumatic forces are applied to the head such as with a whiplash injury or during a rugby tackle.

Just as with the lumbar spine, the cervical spine contains intervertebral (spinal) discs that may herniate over time due to abnormal loading. As we age, the disc material dries out & therefore a disc herniation becomes less likely.

Other potential sources of pain in the cervical/neck region include:

  • Muscle or Ligament injury: The upper cervical spine has a particularly intricate ligament network that acts to stabilize this part of the spine.
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: This is a compression of the cervical nerves as they exit the spine and travel under the neck muscles & ribs before travelling down the arm to the hands. Compression may give rise to pain or sensation of pins and needles in the arm or hand.

Whiplash Induced Neck Pain after rear-ending car accident

The neck undergoes significant trauma from a rear-ending car accident. The acceleration effect on the body may elevate the torso to the degree that the neck may hyperextend over the top of the headrest. As acceleration decreases the head & torso are then thrown forward. This can result in significant injury to the ligaments, muscles and joint structures of the neck.

The Quebec Task Force  of Whiplash Associated Disorders recommends that there is little evidence for the use of soft collars and that use of soft collars beyond the 72 hours immediately after injury will probably prolong disability.

Stinger Injury

If the neck is forced towards the shoulder rapidly with force then this can induce a compression injury on the side of movement and a stretch injury on the opposite side. This movement can stretch a group of nerves known as the brachial plexus and give rise to a sudden onset of weakness or pins & needles along the outside of the arm to the hand.

Physiotherapy Treatment for Neck Pain

A thorough examination of the neck, shoulder & arm is required to identify potential sources of neck pain. Manual treatment methods may include soft tissue work to decrease scar tissue in the neck as well as mobilisations to normalise range of motion where indicated. In cases of severe neck pain, exercises normally commence with mild isometrics (contractions without movement) and build gradually towards more dynamic functional activities.

Giles & Muller (2003) performed a randomized controlled trial comparing outcomes in patients with chronic spinal pain who were randomised to receive spinal manipulation, acupuncture or medication. The largest group whose symptoms were eradicated most quickly came from the manipulation group (27.3%), followed by acupuncture (9.4%), and medication (5%). These results suggest that manipulation resulted in the greatest short-term improvement in symptoms.

Anita Gross, MSc physiotherapist from McMaster University in Toronto states that in relation to spinal manipulation for neck pain that “The evidence keeps growing and growing,”.

Gross, a physiotherapist and associate professor of rehabilitation science, helped write a 2015 Cochrane review of the literature. The Cochrane Group are widely recognised as providing the best scientific analysis available.

Gross and her colleagues concluded that results for mobilization and manipulation were similar, and both might work best in combination with exercise. “Across our different Cochrane reviews, we can say that probably the combination of manual therapy and exercise seems to be a dominant piece that’s coming out as being a wise choice,” Gross says (3).

To book an appointment call Naas Physio Clinic on:
(045) 874 682

or email us at


  1. Giles & Muller (2003). Chronic spinal pain: a randomized clinical trial comparing medication, acupuncture, and spinal manipulation. Spine; 28(14): 1490-1503.

2) Spitzer et al. (1995). Redefining “whiplash” and its management. Scientific monograph of the Quebec Task Force on Whiplash-Associated Disorders. Spine; 20(85):1S-73S

3) Medscape. Thursday February 16th. 2017.
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