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Physio Penrith Neck Pain With Joint Stiffness Treatment

Treatment of Neck Pain with Joint Stiffness At Sydney Muscle & Joint Physio Penrith

What does neck pain with joint stiffness mean?

Neck pain with joint stiffness basically means you have joint restriction (not muscle) that is contributing to your neck pain. Reduced cervical or neck range of motion is often reported in people with neck pain and the magnitude of neck range of motion impairment can be related to the level of pain and self-rated functioning. This means the worse the restriction in movement the worse the pain and dysfunction. More commonly our physiotherapists find reduced extension or looking upwards in the upper neck joints, and reduced flexion or looking downward in the lower neck joints. 

What are the common symptoms of neck pain and stiffness?

Common symptoms of neck pain and stiffness (mobility deficits) include central and/or unilateral neck pain, limitation in neck motion that consistently reproduces symptoms and associated (referred) shoulder girdle or upper extremity pain may be present. You may get pain and restricted movement when rotating the head from side to side and increased pain and stiffness when looking up rather than down.

Diagnosis of neck pain, joint restriction and stiffness

The physiotherapists at Sydney Muscle & Joint Clinic Penrith pride themselves on a thorough assessment and an accurate diagnosis. Much of the guidelines in management of neck pain with mobility deficits (joint restriction) suggest expected physical exam findings to include the following:

  • Limited cervical range of motion

  • Neck pain reproduced at end ranges of active and passive motions

  • Restricted cervical and thoracic segmental mobility

  • Intersegmental mobility testing reveals characteristic restriction

  • Neck and referred pain reproduced with provocation of the involved cervical or upper thoracic segments or cervical musculature

  • Deficits in cervicoscapulothoracic strength and motor control may be present in individuals with subacute or chronic neck pain

Guideline-based treatment of neck pain with joint stiffness

At Sydney Muscle & Joint Clinic Penrith for acute neck pain with joint stiffness our physiotherapists provide thoracic manipulation, a program of neck range of motion exercises, and scapulothoracic and upper extremity strengthening to enhance program adherence. Further, our physiotherapist's may provide cervical manipulation and/or joint mobilisation to help reduce the pain and stiffness.


For patients with subacute neck pain with joint stiffness our physiotherapists provide neck and shoulder girdle endurance exercises, as well as thoracic manipulation and cervical manipulation and/or joint mobilisation.


At Sydney Muscle & Joint Clinic Penrith for chronic neck pain with restricted movement our physiotherapists provide a multimodal approach with the following techniques:

• Thoracic manipulation and cervical manipulation or joint mobilisation

• Mixed exercise for cervical/scapulothoracic regions: neuromuscular exercise (eg, coordination, proprioception, and postural training), stretching, strengthening, endurance training, aerobic conditioning, and cognitive affective elements

• Intermittent mechanical/manual traction

• Neck, shoulder girdle and trunk endurance exercise approaches and patient education and strategies that promote an active lifestyle and address cognitive and affective factors

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