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Tools of the trade: How to relieve neck pain

How to relieve neck pain

Did you know that, according to Professional Electrician, 32% of construction workers suffer from neck pain? Whether you’re working as a painter, electrician, roofer, tiler or a working in a job which involves sustained neck positions, you’re likely to experience some sort of neck pain. Looking up for long periods of time, wearing heavy helmets and PPE gear and crawling through tight spaces, can cause your neck to feel stiff and tense.

We’ve put together a guide to the causes and symptoms of neck pain and how you can prevent and treat this debilitating issue.

What are the causes of neck pain?

Muscle strain

If you’re constantly looking up, holding your neck into an awkward position or moving your neck suddenly, this can cause the muscles in your neck to strain. Even when you’re sleeping, your neck can become locked in a position


Work-related accidents such as falls or slips, or manual-handling incidents like overstraining when lifting equipment, can result in neck injuries that cause pain and restricted movement

Herniated disc

A herniated disc is known as a slipped disc or prolapsed or bulging disc. Discs separate the vertebrae in your spine and provide cushioning when you move. They’re made of a soft tissue centre, surrounded by a hard, outer shell. If this outer shell becomes weak, the soft tissue can bulge out. When this tissue becomes inflamed it can press on a spinal nerve; this can trigger back pain and neck pain


Neck arthritis can cause pain and stiffness in a person’s neck. Wear and tear of the spinal discs generally cause it, but there are many types of arthritis which can cause it too. Did you know that cervical spondylosis is the medical term for osteoarthritis that affects the neck’s spinal joints? Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis are autoimmune conditions which can also lead to neck pain

Poor ergonomics

Tradespeople who work in positions that require prolonged periods of poor posture or awkward positioning, such as bending, twisting, or reaching overhead, can trigger neck pain

What are the symptoms of neck pain?

The symptoms you experience will depend on the not only the underlying cause but also the trade you work in as your neck may be straining in other ways.

Pain or discomfort in your neck

This is often worse when you hold your head in one place for long periods of time. The pain may occur in one place or radiate to your shoulders, arms, or upper back.


These often originate from tension in your neck muscles.

Stiffness or limited range of motion in the neck

A stiff neck makes it difficult to turn the head or perform daily activities.

Numbness or tingling sensations in the arms or hands

Pins and needles, or a tingling sensation, may indicate a pinched nerve.

Muscle spasms

This can also cause tenderness in your neck area.

How does neck pain impact your manual job?

We understand how frustrating and detrimental neck pain or any form of work-related injury can be to tradespeople. You rely on your physical health and fitness to complete construction projects. From operating equipment, to painting, plastering and lifting heavy objects, struggling with neck symptoms really can be a pain in the neck! Whether you’re the owner of a trades company or you work as a contractor, you may notice the following among those who have neck pain:

  • Decreased productivity and income as tradespeople can’t perform efficiently
  • Increased risk of work-related injuries because the pain can affect posture and muscle strength so this can have a knock on affect with other parts of your body
  • Absenteeism if a manual labourer’s neck pain is severe, they may have to take time off work to recover. This means a further reduction in wages and delays

Neck pain and any other trade-related health problem can reduce your quality of life as you may be unable to enjoy daily tasks outside of your construction job. This can then take a toll on tradespeople’s emotional and mental wellbeing.

How can you prevent and treat neck pain?

At Benenden Hospital, we want to help you nip neck pain in the bud, so you can return to your trade as quickly and safely as possible.

Our Physiotherapists can create a programme of neck flexibility and strengthening exercises to ease your stiffness, tension and pain.

If you’re experiencing pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in your hands or feet you could have a trapped or pinched peripheral nerve. Our interventions aims to relieve the pain of a trapped peripheral nerve which can affect or occur in your neck.

Below are a few top tips so you can prevent neck pain in the future while you’re at work.

  • Mix up your tasks throughout the day and if your neck has remained in one position for a while, turn your neck slowly the other way to prevent stiffness on one side.
  • We know this can be expensive and isn’t always possible but booking yourself in for a regular massage can help to release tight neck muscles from sustained positions.
  • Rest is essential. So, when sleeping, make sure your head is the same height as the rest of your body, have a firm mattress and relax your shoulders down away from your neck.

Soothe your strain – access our private healthcare

Discover how to prevent and treat work-related neck strain. Our advice hub for those in the trades offers valuable insight and tips to stay safe and healthy.

Did you know you can access our private orthopaedic treatments and Physiotherapy service if you’re privately medically insured? Or, maybe you have PMI cover through your employer as part of your workplace benefits.

You can also use your Benenden Health membership, self-pay for your procedure or apply for one of our Chrysalis Finance payment plans to spread the cost of your treatment. However you decide to pay for your healthcare, we’re here to ease your pain and get you back to work as soon as possible.

To book your initial consultation, please complete our online enquiry form, contact us via Livechat or call our Private Patient Team on 01580 363158.

Published on 23 May 2023