Head and Neck Pain
Neck pain is a very common problem and is rarely due to serious injury. The most common type of neck pain is called non-specific neck pain (also sometimes called mechanical neck pain) and does not always have an obvious cause. It is usually caused by a combination of factors, such as tightness of the joints, weakness of the muscles and sitting in the same position for too long. Other factors such as stress, worries about pain or lack of regular exercise can also be related to neck pain.
Neck problems do not benefit from rest and you should try and keep as active as possible. Usually, even severe bouts of pain will ease off more quickly if you keep active than if you rest. Doing neck exercises can help to ease your symptoms, although you may have to do these for a while before you start to feel the benefit.
Sometimes neck problems can cause pain, pins and needles and numbness in the arms. This is rarely a cause for concern and is normally treated in the same way as non-specific neck pain. Occasionally, other investigations and treatments might be required if the pain is in your arms.
More information about neck pain can be found on the Arthritis Research UK website and examples of neck exercises can be found in our video section.
Jaw Pain (Temporomandibular Joint Pain)
This encompasses several conditions involving the muscles, disc or joint of the jaw. It can be painful as a result of injury, inflammatory disease, poor postures and habits or growth disorders. Symptoms can include pain in the jaw joints and facial muscles, clicking, grinding and locking of the jaw, limited opening of the mouth, grinding of the teeth (especially at night) and problems with eating.
This condition can be improved by specific exercises to encourage 'normal' jaw function (these will be prescribed by your physiotherapist), jaw relaxation techniques, gentle massage of teh joint and surrounding area, eating a soft diet and postural advice.
For further information about temporomandibular disorders, have a look at the following patient leaflet.