Neck pain is common in people of all ages and is usually caused by how we use our necks.
As more and more people spend their working day at a computer or sat in an office, the neck and shoulder muscles can become stiff or overused.
Other factors such as stress and tiredness can contribute to ongoing neck pain as can osteoarthritis (age-related wear and tear) in the neck. This can, in turn, cause not only muscular pain from the neck into the shoulder but also some stiffness in moving the neck.
An irritated nerve in your neck can cause some arm pain going down into the hand and may be accompanied by pins and needles and numbness. If you find that your arm is weak you should see your doctor.
On some rare occasions the nerves in your neck may become trapped making it difficult for you to use your hands for tasks such as undoing and doing up buttons or unscrewing jars and can even make you lose your balance when walking. If these symptoms occur you should see your doctor.
The first thing is to try and ease it through movement – see the video for some neck exercises.
Movement may be sore and may require some painkillers such as ibuprofen and/or paracetamol (read the box or ask your pharmacist for details on how to take them).
If you find that your neck pain is worse after being at work, you may require an assessment of your workstation. Your employer should be able to organise this.
If your neck pain doesn’t settle you may need some help from your local physiotherapist.