Neck Pain – Heather Camenzind
Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Heather Camenzind of Insync Physio in Vancouver. And we're going to talk about neck pain. Are you seeing a lot of neck pain these days, Heather?
Heather: Yes, I'm seeing quite a bit of it actually. So I'm seeing one person in particular, she's coming in for a lot of neck pain. Due the pandemic, she's working from home. So we've been working a lot on her home set up just including trying to raise her computer up a little bit for her. Not working on the couch in a slouch position. So she's trying to create a desk, like situation for her.
But we're also talking about just trying to increase her movement quite a bit and trying to build in ways that she can do that throughout her day.
Mark: So what does that look like?
Heather: Yeah. So I think just with people working from home a lot, and we get stuck in this work, work, work mode. And we're forgetting that when we were going to the office, how much movement, just that in itself builds in throughout the day.
The act of getting yourself ready. The traveling to your workplace, walking from the train or your car, to the amount that you've actually looked and turned around and moved your neck and head. And now people are, we're waking up. We're probably looking on our phones for the news or something in the morning, and then we're plugging into the computer. We're not really actually moving quite as much as we want to.
And a lot of people are doing exactly what we're doing. We're Zoom or talking video conference. So a lot of people are in, and they're describing these meetings to me. And some people say they're all day they're six hour meetings that people are on their computers and they're looking straight ahead.
If you were in your office, you would turn and look at people and maybe you would stretch, get up for a glass of water. And all of that movement that was built in throughout our day is lacking now. So we're trying to develop strategies with clients that they put a timer on for themselves. To remembering that they get up and they move around their apartment or house, something that they're moving half an hour or every hour, at least every hour. Encouraging people to get up, do some stretching, just stretch your neck, doesn't even have to be a big stretch. Just move your neck, twist your neck, look over your shoulder.
And then also I've been encouraging people to reach over their heads. This is so good. It gets your shoulders going, gets your mid back moving. That gets really kind of rounded and hunched. So just reaching overhead. It actually feels really good to just reach overhead. And just to give your body a little kind of movement and some shape because we're so forward these days.
So it strategies like that, just it's nothing simple. It's just remembering to do it. And we were getting in this work, work, work mode that we feel like we have to be on all the time, I think. And we want to change those habits for people. That you don't get that like, couple of minutes chit chat with people that you used to when you were going to get your water, your coffee or something like that. Those things are lacking these days.
Mark: So when someone comes in with neck pain like that, how do you diagnose it? And then what's the protocol to get them feeling less neck pain.
Heather: That's a great question. So a lot of it's just history kind of figuring out what could be contributing to their neck pain. Some people have a history of a prior car accident or a ski accident or something like that.
So knowing people's histories of what could be potentially contributing to something is key. So we do a detailed history. As well as then we just talk about what your day looks like in general. When you experience the neck pain? Is it in the morning or is it in the evening? Is it all day long? Could that neck pain be contributing to headaches that people get. A lot of neck pain refers up and contributes to headaches for people. So detailed history is very important.
And then we go into just a basic assessment. So looking at how people move. Can they rotate? Can they twist? How do they do that? Also looking at their shoulder mobility, kind of like I referenced earlier, reaching up over your head. And also their mid back. So a lot of neck pain can be contributed to stiffness in the shoulders as well as through like the chest and the thorax. So your mid back. So we want to make sure that those things can move and have the ability to move as well.
Mark: So, how do you actually treat for that? Is that all manual manipulation, like getting in there and loosening things up? Is it the horrors of needles? How do you actually get it loosened up?
Heather: It's often a combination. So you chat with people about what they're comfortable with. Often some manual therapy, so hands-on therapy. So working on the joints, getting those moving can be something as simple as like massage, just some, some muscle release and fascial release a little bit in there.
Some people, or actually a lot of people respond well to needles. It doesn't have to be needles though, but IMS is a great way to release muscle tension. And then From there, it's teaching the client, talking to them about movement strategies. Like I referenced earlier.
They can only see me so much. They can see me probably for about half an hour in the week and the rest is up to them. So we try to kind of use the analogy as I'm their coach. We kind of talk about the strategy and they kind of go and try to implement the strategy. So moving and then a lot of it's stretching. So teaching them how to stretch properly.
And then also sometimes it involves some strength. So just getting your mid back muscles stronger, but a lot of it I find we can get with just implementing some movement strategies or stretching on a daily basis.
Mark: And how often, or how much of a contributor is, are these evil devices that we tend to want to spend way too much time staring down at.
Heather: Yeah. So I think it's all a big portion and we're actually seeing younger and younger people come in and start to complain about neck pain. And it's because we're on devices so much and often the way they are it's like as you said, you're looking down all the time. And so it's contributing to, people just kind of this like head, we call it head forward posture. So it's kind of this chin poke. So teaching people to sit up tall. And it doesn't mean it has to be like strong military posture that makes our backs really sore really quickly.
So it's just imagining, something's just pulling you up tall and you don't have to be perfect posture, but just upright posture, is key.
Mark: Perfect, and how long to relieve kind of this sort of neck pain that you're seeing a bit of a epidemic of these days.
Heather: Yeah, it varies on everybody. It depends on what would be the contributing factors. Sometimes just teaching people to move more. And if they're compliant and they actually do what they should do, they can alleviate their neck pain quite quickly. They find the movement really helps. Some people, it takes a little bit longer.
If there's something else that maybe is underlying there. You talk to a lot of people and they're having an acute moment of neck pain. But you start to talk to them and they do have a history of kind of a chronic neck pain. You're like, yeah every once in a while, it kind of, people say, goes out.
Can get a kink in the neck. You wake up funny and you can't move. So those people tend to maybe take a little bit longer. So if it's just something acute, like just, you woke up with something and it's your first time of neck pain, or you are having just this kind of epidemic, as you say, of lots of neck pain, just from people working at home.
If they elicit strategies at home, they can be quite successful and maybe it takes a few weeks, maybe a month to kind of make those changes. It takes time to change habits but maybe a month to six weeks. And then sometimes if it's something else that's a little bit more complicated would take a little bit longer.
Mark: If you have neck pain, if you have a pain in the neck, divorce him. Yeah. Other than that, call Insync Physio. You can book an appointment to see Heather at insyncphysio.com. Or you can call the office on Cambie Street, (604) 566-9716. Book your appointment. Get in there, get your neck pain solved. Thanks Heather.
Heather: Thanks, bye.