Neck and back pain go back as far as recorded history. Interesting thought that despite advances in health care they continue to remain common complaints. In the past, treatment has been mainly activity avoidance and rest. The current research, however, shows that a different approach is more beneficial. A review of the recommended treatment will be broken down into pain control, activity, and action.

Back Pain

Low back pain is the fifth most common reason for physician visits and:

  • Affects nearly 60-80% of people throughout their lifetime.
  • The lifetime prevalence of low back pain is reported to be as high as 84%.
  • The prevalence of chronic low back pain is about 23%.
  • 11-12% of the population are disabled by low back pain.

Physiotherapy aims to identify reasons for pain or increase the likelihood of developing persistent pain. These include:

  • Biological factors (eg. weakness, stiffness).
  • Psychological factors (eg. depression, fear of movement and catastrophisation).
  • And social factors (eg. work environment). [Source]

Neck Pain

‘Text neck’ is a modern term to describe pain in the neck resulting from excessive watching or texting on hand held devices, laptops, or smartphones over a sustained period of time. It is also often known as Turtle Neck posture. It is a cause for increasing concern especially with younger generations given their greater propensity to mobile phone usage, but can affect anyone with increased device usage.

Apart from neck pain, it can also cause shoulder pain, upper back pain, headaches and an increased thoracic kyphosis.

Therapy to include manual therapy, exercise prescription, and posture education have been found to to be very effective in treating neck pain. [Source]

Watch our Youtube Video (2min) to see what to look for with proper workplace ergonomics.

Pain Control

Neck and back pain are usually episodic and recurrent. Each episode also typically resolves on its own. There are, however, a few simple treatment options to help control the symptoms throughout the episode. They include:

  • Using medication (following the pharmacist’s and/or doctor’s instructions).
  • Applying ice and/or hot packs.
  • Ensuring proper posture and body mechanics.
  • Seeing a local physiotherapist is also recommended as they can provide some pain control strategies through hands on therapy and/or advice on some activities and exercises that can help control your pain.


Staying as active as possible is key to your recovery. Participating in a general exercise program and trying to remain at work or getting back as soon as possible are vital despite having some ongoing symptoms. The longer you stay off work the more likely you are to develop chronic pain and disability.


Discuss your daily activities, whether it be leisure activities or work that you are having problem with to your care providers and employer to see if some temporary modifications can be made. Most people will get back to their normal activities within several weeks. If you are unable to after several weeks, you should definitely be seeking the assistance of a physiotherapist.

Bottom Line

Staying as active as possible is ideal to maximize your recovery, but you may need to temporarily avoid certain activities. If your symptoms are persisting or you want to know what activities you should continue with or temporary avoid we recommend that you book an appointment with a local physiotherapist.

Click HERE to book an Initial Assessment with one our our physiotherapists or call us at 306.343.7776 for more information!