How to treat your Neck and Arm Pain


Well over half of the adult population will at some time suffer from neck pain. This is due, at least in part, to poor neck positions in our working and everyday lives.

The pain experienced from the neck may be felt in the neck itself, or as aching across the shoulders and shoulder blades, or down the arms.

This is also known as neuralgia. It can cause sensations of ‘pins and needles’ or numbness in the arms, hands and fingers, or give rise to headaches.

Pain can range from a dull ache to severe burning pain. The pain may start suddenly or gradually come on over a period of time. Headaches can become persistent and severe.

Structures which can cause neck and arm pain include:

  • joint tissues
  • ligaments
  • muscles
  • the disc between the vertebrae
  • a nerve being trapped by a bulging disc or damaged by trauma

The Causes of Neck and Arm Pain include:

  • Direct Injury such as whiplash type injuries
  • Arthritic Change, also known as degenerative changes
  • Postural Strain, e.g. persistent slouching, falling asleep in awkward positions
  • Wearing a rucksack or shoulder bag
  • Wearing bifocals or half glasses
  • Household jobs overhead, such as, hanging curtains, painting ceilings
  • Worry and Stress (can lead to an increase in muscle tone)

How you can help treat your neck

How can Physiotherapy Help?

Physiotherapy can help acute (new onset) and chronic (longstanding) neck and arm pain. The tissues causing your pain are thoroughly assessed. Also postural and daily habits which may be contributing to your pain will be identified.
The Assessment

Neck and arm movements are checked. Specific movement of the individual joints in the neck and possibly shoulder, elbow and hand are assessed. The soft tissue surrounding these joints is also felt for tenderness. Nerve length, Muscle length and strength are checked. Occasionally x-rays or MRI scans are required to aid a precise diagnosis

Treatment can range from local gentle massage to the muscles or nerves, mobilisations and manipulations to the joints, to electrotherapy and acupuncture for pain relief.

Posture is assessed and ergonomic (position of computer and desk use) and lifestyle advice given if appropriate. A personalised exercise plan of joint, muscle stretching or strengthening will be given.

If you are not sure whether your problem can be helped by physiotherapy, please give us a call and I will be more than happy to advise you.

For more information or advice please get in touch with us.

For physiotherapy appointments and home visits and to book pilates please call Kate on 07956 372891 or email:


“…I find Kate compassionate, understanding and reassuring. She has helped me many times, from neck pain, aching knees and back, down to a broken toe! Kate is a treasure. I cannot praise her highly enough…” Mrs Oliver, Herts