• Upper Back and Neck Pain

    Neck pain is a very common problem that sports medicine doctors take care of. Often they can occur on the basis of trauma. So of course people who have had injuries landing on the head, striking the head or neck like in hockey, this kind of thing happens pretty often. But we also see lots of injuries that happen as a consequence simply of posture.

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    Dr. Grant Lum, MD, CCFP, Dip Sports Med, Sports Medicine Physician, discusses common causes of neck pain.
    Dr. Grant Lum, MD, CCFP, Dip Sports Med, Sports Medicine Physician, discusses common causes of neck pain.
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    Dr. Beverley Steinhoff, DC, Chiropractor, discusses neck and workstation pain.
    Dr. Beverley Steinhoff, DC, Chiropractor, discusses neck and workstation pain.
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    Proper Sitting Posture and Office Chair Adjustments : Mr. Gabriel Wong : Westcoast SCI
    Proper Sitting Posture and Office Chair Adjustments : Mr. Gabriel Wong : Westcoast SCI
  • Common Causes of Neck Pain

    Neck pain is a very common problem that sports medicine doctors take care of. Often they can occur on the basis of trauma. So of course people who have had injuries landing on the head, striking the head or neck like in hockey, this kind of thing happens pretty often. But we also see lots of injuries that happen as a consequence simply of posture.

                               

    So imagine this is a lower back model but looks very much like the neck. If this is you facing forwards, then those joints are in here, and they’re called facette or facet joints because they’re flat like the facet of a diamond.

    As you tilt your head forward, those joints open, but as you tilt your head back, the joints close, and that applies pressure to the joints, and that can lead to inflammation and pain. In some patients, it’s the consequence of sitting at a desk all day.

    Typically, when people have poor posture they get their head moving forward, and so this causes the joints to pushed up against one another. So sitting like this all day in front of a computer, for example, can create a lot of pain in the neck.

    In the case of people who have a neck trauma where, for example, someone’s cross-checked on the ice, or they’re tackling, and the head makes contact with the opponent player, those kinds of hyperextension injuries can actually lead to fractures of the neck also.

    In most cases of these facet injuries that are more minor, where facet pain is there without a fracture, we treat that typically with things like ice, anti-inflammatories, and physiotherapy. But most importantly we want to reinforce to people that they need to maintain good upright posture to take pressure off of those joints.

    The most important thing to consider when treating these kinds of injuries is whether or not there are any neurologic symptoms. So if people have numbness or tingling going down into the arm or hand, that could signal a more serious problem with a pinched nerve as a consequence of inflammation around these joints.

    That type of problem typically happens more often the older we get because those joints get built up a little bit through the process of osteoarthritis. So we build up excess bone which then makes the opening for the nerve in the neck smaller, and it makes it easier to pinch the nerve.   Often seeing a local family physician or a physiotherapist in conjunction with a registered dietitian and athletic therapist is a great option to take control of this condition. Smart Food Now and exercise is also optominal for overall health. If you think you have a facet joint problem in your neck, or have any questions, you could consult a physiotherapist or a sports medicine doctor.

    Presenter: Dr. Grant Lum, Sports Medicine Physician, Toronto, ON

    Now Health Network Local Practitioners: Sports Medicine Physician

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