Many people suffer from neck pain. It can occur for many reasons including poor posture, either from sitting at a desk or hunching of over a workstation, cell phone, or tablet, or injuries from car accidents, sports, or even slipping and falling. Conditions or issues that may contribute to pain in the neck include:
If your neck pain is accompanied by numbness or loss of strength in your arms or hands, or if you have shooting pain into your shoulder or down your arm, seek diagnoses of the cause and treatment as soon as possible.
When you make an appointment with a physical therapist with neck pain, you will provide a medical history report and answer questions about current habits and lifestyle details which may be contributors to the pain itself. The therapist will carry out a physical exam, testing the range of motion, to see how far you can move your head forward, backward, and side to side. They will also check for tenderness, numbness and muscle weakness. Once the cause of your pain is identified, the physical therapist will recommend a course of treatments to reduce your discomfort and cure the underlying issue.
Physical therapists use a variety of passive and active treatments to ease pain and discomfort in the neck. Passive treatments include manual therapies like massage and manipulation to relieve tension in the neck. The therapist may also apply heat and cold to increase blood flow to help the muscles heal as well as carry away any byproducts caused by spasm or cramp in the muscles. The therapist may also use traction to stretch and mobilize the neck. During the active part of therapy, the therapist will lead you through exercises and teach you how to practice regularly to develop flexibility, strength, stability and range of motion. All treatment plans are tailored to the individual and his or her needs.