Exercise physiology is an important part of an effective treatment program for neck pain. Completing a personalised exercise program can fully restore your strength, mobility and movement control that will allow you to safely return to your full normal sport, exercise and leisure activities. Exercise-based treatment is especially important if your neck pain has been there for some time (this is called chronic neck pain), or is recurrent (meaning that you have had several episodes of pain).
Our exercise physiology team at Central Performance are highly experienced in managing neck pain using an active exercise-based approach based on your personal goals, history and exercise ability. Whenever necessary our exercise physiologists liaise with our physiotherapists to ensure that you receive the most effective treatment available.
Some of the most common types of neck pain that our exercise physiologists treat include:
Exercise Physiology is extremely beneficial for all of the above types of neck pain. While each client’s treatment program is personalised and unique the end goal is always the same: relieve your neck pain, get you back to the activities you love, and build more resilience so that you minimise your risk of future problems.
Your exercise physiology program begins with a comprehensive movement screen using the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) and other physical tests. We look at how you move, diagnose where you may be weak, stiff or tight, and determine the initial priorities for your program. This may include working on mobility, stability, strength, or a combination of all of these. If you have previously seen one of our physiotherapists for the earlier management of your neck pain then we will have received a full handover from them.
A critical part of your initial assessment is to discuss your goals and expectations for treatment. This allows your exercise physiologist to understand exactly what you want to achieve and determine the best possible course of treatment. At Central Performance we pride themselves on helping clients to not only reach their goals but exceed their expectations of themselves and what they are capable of achieving.
To be fully effective your treatment program needs to be tailored for your particular goals, current and previous injury history, exercise ability and personal preferences. Whilst there are common elements in exercise programs for neck pain our exercise physiologists never use a one size fits all approach, and are constantly looking for the best possible treatment option for our clients with neck pain.
Your exercise physiology program will usually begin with targeted mobility exercises and then progress to specific strengthening for your neck, upper spine and shoulders. The goal of this phase is to increase both the mobility and stability of your neck, allowing you to move with greater freedom and less pain.
Clients with neck pain are usually able to progress to higher level exercises quite quickly, allowing them to return to the activities they love doing in a faster time frame. Your program steadily becomes more complex, uses to increasing loads to build up your strength, and also includes more whole-body functional movements. At each session your program is carefully graded and adjusted to keep you improving while avoiding any chance of being painful.
The later treatment stages for neck pain are really driven by your personal goals for lifestyle, sport and exercise. For example if one of your goals is to return to recreational swimming or tennis your functional strength program will be quite different to someone who wants to be pain-free at their desk or do more digging in the garden. Your exercise physiologist will make sure your program is specific to your goals, challenging and fun to keep you motivated, and of course exercising safely is always a primary consideration.