Neck pain can make it difficult to function normally, as your neck plays an important part in everyday movement. If it extends from your neck to your shoulders, is painful and can be debilitating.
If pain in your neck is preventing you from doing daily tasks comfortably, like sitting up straight in your chair at work or causing you to tilt your head down to tie your shoes, physical therapy can help you get back to your normal, pain-free function.
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) estimates that one-third of the population will experience neck pain in any given year. It can worsen if left untreated, and in severe cases, surgery may even be required. However, there is some good news: many people find relief from pain with the help of physical therapy every year!
Common Neck Pain Symptoms You May Be Experiencing
Neck pain typically runs from the base of a person’s skull to the top of their shoulder blades and settles in the back of the neck.
The pain can vary in severity, from a constant dull ache to sharp and stabbing pains. It can sometimes include these additional symptoms:
Discomfort and pain when remaining in the same position for too long
Numbness or tingling into the upper extremities
Inability to fully stand up or sit up straight
Difficulty sleeping due to pain and discomfort
Weakness in your arms or shoulders
Stiffness and muscle tightness in the upper body
Reasons Why Your Neck May Hurt?
Injuries to tissues and bone are the most common reason for neck pain, however, certain degenerative conditions can also lead to pain in the neck.
Some common conditions that can give you pain in your neck include:
Even something as simple as sitting at your desk all day with your neck craned toward the computer screen can cause your neck muscles to become strained by overuse.
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.
If you have a herniated disc in your neck, or a 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 down to the hands and fingers — a condition known as “radiculopathy.”
Degenerative Joint Conditions
Conditions such as osteoarthritis can reduce the cartilage between the vertebrae in the neck, causing pain in the neck. Like any other joint in your body, the neck joints can deteriorate with age, causing pain.
Certain diseases and ailments can result in neck pain, such as rheumatoid cancer, arthritis, cervical spondylosis, spinal stenosis, and meningitis.
There are many more reasons why pain may occur in your neck, so slow down before you go Googling! The best way to be 100% sure of why you are experiencing pain in your neck is to see a therapist.
How Can A Physical Therapist Help Relief Pain In the Neck?
One of the most effective treatments for pain in your neck is physical therapy. Our physical therapists at Pro-X Physical Therapy will conduct a thorough physical examination to determine your neck’s range of motion and any limitations you may be experiencing as a result of your pain. This will help them decide which treatments are best for your specific recovery plan. You will collaborate on the goals and expectations of each step of your personalized treatment plan, with the ultimate goal of eliminating pain in your neck as quickly as possible.
Specific exercises will be prescribed by our Agoura Hills, CA physical therapists to help you strengthen, build, and improve the muscles and tissues in your neck. Our therapist may use manual or hands-on therapy, which consists of specific techniques aimed at reducing stiffness and increasing the range of motion in your neck.
We will also focus on improving your posture to aid in the recovery of your neck muscles and to avoid future injury. Our therapist will even collaborate with your primary care physician if necessary.