Each vertebra links with the one below and above via two joints known as facet joints. These can easily be overstretched or compressed with sudden or sharp movements of the head.
Symptoms: The pain can come on rapidly or develop over time and can vary from a deep dull ache or a sudden locking/inability to move the neck. Pain can radiate around the site of injury down into the shoulders or up into the head.
Treatment: Symptoms can be successfully treated with spinal manipulation and mobilisations, massage and dry needling. Ice therapy and a range of exercises will also help to relieve symptoms.
Prognosis: Most patients will make a full recovery between 1-5 weeks, depending on each individual case.
Like all areas of the spine, the bones in the neck are supported above and below by a disc. Their job is to allow movement and act as a shock absorber. These discs can be subject to trauma or repetitive sprain, which can cause them to herniate or prolapse. This means that the disc material can bulge out, which may or may not trap nerves that leave the neck and travel down the arms (you may have heard these being referred to as a 'slipped disc' or a trapped nerve).
Symptoms: You often get a sharp aching pain at the site of the injury, usually the neck, with pain and symptoms such as pins & needles or numbness travelling along the path of the nerve. This could be down the shoulder, arm and into the fingers.
Treatment: Symptoms can be successfully treated with manual therapy and rehabilitation but depending on the severity of the disc it may require further imaging, such as an MRI, to help formulate the best treatment plan.
Prognosis: Herniated discs can be complicated as every case is individual. The average herniation takes 3 months to heal, some cases can improve more quickly and some can take longer. Recurrence depends on the severity of the initial injury and lifestyle.