Neck pain affects millions of people worldwide. And this pain often results from poor posture, injury, and degenerative conditions. Sometimes, neck pain can be severe, interfering with daily activities and significantly impacting your quality of life. Therefore, getting neck pain treatment is essential to prevent the pain from worsening and leading to chronic pain and disability.
Although there are different neck pain treatments, physical therapy is non-invasive and has proven effective. This article explores the causes of neck pain and the effectiveness of physical therapy in alleviating this pain at Barkman & Smith Physical Therapy.
What are the Causes of Neck Pain?
Neck pain is common due to poor posture, injury, and degenerative conditions.
Poor posture can strain the muscles and ligaments supporting the neck, resulting in neck pain. For example, a typical poor posture is when the neck slants forward and the head is in front of the shoulders. This posture increases stress on the cervical spine, overloading the neck and back muscles and resulting in neck pain.
Injury and trauma can damage the spinal cord’s muscles, ligaments, and nerve roots, resulting in pain. Injuries that can cause neck pain include whiplash, falls, and sports-related injuries.
Degenerative conditions like herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and osteoarthritis result from wear and tear. These conditions result in neck pain, which may sometimes radiate and cause arm pain.
What are the Symptoms of Neck Pain?
The symptoms of neck pain may vary for everyone. Nevertheless, common symptoms of neck pain include headaches, muscle spasms, limited range of motion, stiffness, and pain that worsens with movement. Furthermore, you may experience numbness or tingling in your arms, hands, or fingers if you have neck pain in Bedford, TX.
When Should You See a Doctor for Neck Pain
Usually, neck pain can resolve independently within a few days or weeks. However, in some cases, it is essential to get medical attention. Early diagnosis and treatment of neck pain can prevent the pain from worsening and becoming chronic. Your doctor will prescribe treatment depending on the underlying cause of the pain and your symptoms.
You should visit a doctor immediately if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Difficulty walking or maintaining balance.
- Loss of bladder or bowel control.
- Radiating pain in the arms or legs.
- Weakness or numbness in arms or legs.
- Severe pain that does not improve with rest.
Treatments for Neck Pain
There are several treatments for neck pain, and each treatment’s effectiveness depends on the pain’s severity and underlying cause. The most common treatments for neck pain include:
- Pain relievers: over-the-counter pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce inflammation and relieve mild to moderate neck pain.
- Muscle relaxants: These medications can help relax the muscles and reduce muscle spasms, relieving pain.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help restore mobility, improve strength, and reduce pain. This treatment is non-invasive and is suitable for mild to chronic neck pain.
- Heat or ice therapy: Applying heat or ice to the neck can help reduce pain and inflammation. Ice reduces inflammation, while heat relaxes stiff muscles. It is ideal for alternating between heat and ice for 20 minutes several times a day for the best results.
- Corticosteroid injections: These injections can help reduce inflammation and reduce swelling, relieving neck pain.
How Effective is Physical Therapy in Treating Neck Pain?
Physical therapy is a non-invasive neck pain treatment. This therapy involves techniques and exercises that help relieve pain and improve the range of motion. Physical therapy for neck pain also focuses on strengthening your neck muscles and preventing a recurrence.
Physical Therapy for Neck Pain
When you visit your physical therapist in Bedford for treatment, your physical therapist will create a treatment plan that suits your condition and the severity of your symptoms.
A typical physical therapy rehabilitation program for neck pain may include posture, stretching, and strengthening exercises. You may also undergo manual therapy like joint mobilization or massage to relieve pain. Other Bedford and Fort Worth physical therapy techniques for neck pain include ultrasound therapy and trigger point release.
Physical Therapy Exercises for Neck Pain
Physical therapy exercises are part of a rehabilitation program for reducing neck pain, restoring mobility, and improving range of motion. When doing these exercises, it is best to use proper form and technique to prevent further injury. Your physical therapist will work with you and show you how to carry out these exercises correctly and safely.
Physical therapy exercises for alleviating neck pain include;
- Neck stretches: this stretch alleviates tension in your neck muscles and reduces pain. During the exercise, you will tilt your head to the side and hold for 10-15 seconds before repeating on the other side.
- Shoulder blade squeeze: This exercise involves sitting up straight and squeezing the shoulder blades together. This exercise improves posture and relieves tension in the neck and upper back.
- Chin tucks: This exercise involves gently tucking your chin towards your chest. This exercise strengthens the muscles in the neck and upper back.
Although neck pain is quite common, getting treatment as soon as possible is essential to prevent the pain from becoming chronic. Physical therapy for neck pain is a non-invasive treatment that alleviates pain, strengthens muscles, and prevents recurrence. Barkman & Smith Physical therapy offers massage, ultrasound, and customized treatment programs to relieve neck pain and nurse you to good health.