When you present for your physiotherapy assessment, the first step of the clinical exam is to triage the seriousness of the cause of neck pain. This means that by taking a detailed history and undertaking a specialised manual exam, we can categorise your neck pain as mechanical neck pain, radiculopathy (a trapped nerve in the neck leading to sharp shooting arm pain) or likely due to a serious spinal pathology that requires further medical assessment. Less than one out of a hundred people presenting with neck pain have a serious spinal pathology but we are always on the lookout for such a presentation.
Once your triage reveals a more straightforward musculoskeletal source of your neck pain, a specialised manual exam of your neck and upper back will reveal where the symptoms are coming from and also the consequences to your joint movement and muscle function. This detailed examination will form the basis of your treatment plan.