Neck Pain Relief
Relieve Your Neck Pain with the Help of Physical Therapy
According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), approximately one-third of the population will experience neck pain in any given year. It can get worse if left untreated, and in severe cases, surgery may even be needed. Neck pain can cause debilitating and extremely uncomfortable sensations, especially if the pain stretches from your neck down to your shoulders.
Your neck is an integral area of everyday movement, and sharp pains can prevent you from functioning properly in your day-to-day life. Whether your neck pain presents difficulty when trying to sit up straight in your chair at work or tilting your head down to tie your shoes, physical therapy can help get you back to a normal, pain-free function.
Fortunately, many people are able to find relief from their neck pain every year through the help of physical therapy. Our doctors of physical therapy practice are dedicated to providing you with the relief you need.
What’s the reason for my neck pain?
There are a number of reasons why neck pain may occur. When someone experiences neck pain, it typically runs from the base of their skull to the top of their shoulder blades, finally settling in the back of the neck. The pain can vary in severity, from a constant dull ache to sharp and stabbing pains. Neck pain can sometimes include additional symptoms, including but not limited to:
- Inability to fully stand up or sit up straight
- Stiffness and muscle tightness in the upper body
- Loss of sleep due to pain and discomfort
- Discomfort and pain when remaining in the same position for too long
- Numbness or tingling into the upper extremities
- Arm weakness
What Causes Neck Pain?
Where does neck pain come from? In many cases, the cause is a violent one. A traumatic accident can do acute damage to the complex structures and delicate tissues that make up the neck. But even more frequently, neck pain develops gradually in connection with an underlying chronic issue. Some of the more common causes of neck pain include:
- Bulging or herniated discs – Discs which protrude from the spinal column can press against the nerve roots of the cervical spine.
- Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis of the facet joints (which articulate the neck vertebrae) can cause chronic pain.
- Poor posture – A stooped posture, such as the “text neck” caused by always gazing downward at your smartphone, can strain the neck muscles.
- Repetitive motion injuries – If your job or sport causes you to crane or turn your head over and over, you may develop a repetitive motion injury such as tendonitis.
- Whiplash – A violent impact can throw your head around with enough force to tear your neck muscles, sprain ligaments, herniated discs, and pinched nerves.
What are some common conditions leading to neck pain?
Neck pain is most commonly caused by an injury to the tissues or bone structures in the neck; however, certain degenerative conditions can also lead to neck pain. Some common conditions that give you a pain in your neck include:
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries that result in neck pain, typically sustained by an automobile or high-impact sports collision. This is known as a “strain” injury, causing the head to whip rapidly back-and-forth, thus affecting the soft tissues in the back of the neck.
The muscles in your neck can become strained by overuse. Even something as simple as sitting at your desk all day with your neck craned toward the computer screen can lead to a strain in your neck muscles.
If you have a herniated disc in your neck, or narrowing of the foramen (space where the nerves exit the spine), the nerves that branch out from your spinal cord can become compressed. In some cases, nerve pain can even extend from the neck all the way down to the hands and fingers — a condition known as “radiculopathy.”
Much like any other joint in your body, the neck joints can erode with age, causing pain. Conditions such as osteoarthritis can also reduce the cartilage between the vertebrae in the neck, also resulting in neck pain.
Certain diseases and ailments can result in neck pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, or cancer.
What do neck pain treatments look like?
Physical therapy is one of the best methods for treating neck pain. Treatments for your neck pain will most likely include manual or “hands-on” therapy, which consists of special techniques designed to reduce the stiffness of your neck and improve its range of motion. Our Doctors of physical therapy will also provide you with targeted exercises that will strengthen, build, and improve the muscles and tissues in your neck. We will focus on improving your posture to aid in the recovery of your neck muscles, as well as avoiding re-injury in the future. Additional treatment services may include ice and heat therapy, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation, as our physical therapist deems fit. We also use many new innovative tools such as deep tissue laser, cupping, and dry needling.
At Optimum Physio Therapies, our physical therapists will conduct an initial physical evaluation to analyze the range of motion in your neck, as well as any limitations you have due to your pain. They will then create a diagnosis that will determine the make-up of your treatment plan. You will work together to understand the goals and expectations of each step in your individualized treatment plan, with the main focus being overcoming neck pain and recovering as quickly as possible.
Begin your treatments today!
Don’t let your daily discomfort be a pain in the neck any longer. Request a free screening to speak with one of our Doctors of physical therapy at San Antonio, TX today. We will help you get started on the road toward long-lasting pain relief.