Longstanding & Chronic Neck Pain

The management and treatment of chronic neck pain requires a comprehensive analysis of your case history. A chronic pain state emerges from the influence of many many factors. You can learn more about how pain works in this series of posts. The principle ideas discussed in the linked posts apply to cases of chronic neck pain. In short, chronic pain states are driven by abnormally heightened nerve ending and nerve pathway sensitivity. The challenge is to come to a judgment about the most likely driver of that heightened sensitivity.

SIMPLIFIED FLOWCHART

The diagram above illustrates the relationships between those factors that can lead to a chronically heightened state of nerve ending and nerve pathway sensitivity. In my experience, chronic neck pain is very often maintained by an erroneous understanding that wear and tear of spinal structures is a primary, if not the sole cause of neck pain. This erroneous understanding leads to a cycle of protective behaviours and coping strategies that ultimately lead to more stiffness, pain and disability. Frequently, treatment comprising education with regards to how pain works, combined with manual therapy to reduce muscular guarding results in resolution or significant reduction of chronic neck pain, and a significant increase in ability to participate in recreational and occupational activities. If you have chronic neck pain, and your understanding is that it can’t be helped because it is solely driven by structural damage to your neck, give us a call on  02 9665 9667. Chronic neck pain is always more complex than the degree of wear and tear in your discs or other structures. It’s possible to reduce the sensitivity of your nerve pathways and nerve endings, so it stands to reason that it is possible for your back to reduce or resolve.

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