Do you dread having to look up, down, or to one side because of the pain you know you’ll experience? Do you struggle for hours to find a sleeping position that doesn’t torture your neck? Has your neck never been the same since that scary car crash or sports accident? Neck pain can make ordinary actions and tasks a major chore, ruining your quality of life. If you’re sick of that pain in the neck and you’re looking for non-surgical methods of ridding yourself of it, physical therapy can very likely turn your life around. Contact our physical therapists to get the facts about this non-invasive answer to neck pain!
What Is Neck Pain?
Nearly one-third of Americans suffer from neck pain every year, especially individuals in the 30-to-50 age bracket. Neck pain can take a variety of forms, sometimes in combination with other uncomfortable symptoms and limitations. The most common area in which people feel neck pain is the top rear of the neck, near the base of the skull. You may also experience pain radiating to your arms or shoulders. This pain may be either acute (resolving as an underlying cause is resolved) or chronic (continuing for several months or years, either constantly or in recurring bouts).
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.
Less commonly, neck pain can also be associated with diseases ranging from cancer to meningitis. Even lifestyle choices such as smoking or pillow choice can raise your neck pain risk.
How Physical Therapy Helps With Neck Pain
Physical therapy is an ideal solution for many neck pain sufferers. It provides more lasting relief than medications without introducing the risks and recuperation time of surgery. Our physical therapist understands how the various structures of the neck should work together, and what kinds of symptoms indicate specific disorders or injuries. Once our physical therapist has examined your cervical spine, range of motion, symptoms (including neurological symptoms referred to the upper extremities), and medical history, we can create a physical therapy regimen to help you tame that nagging discomfort. Common physical therapy options for treating neck pain include:
- Exercises – In spite of the familiar image of the neck pain patient spending all his time in a neck brace, exercises to mobilize the neck can do a world of good as long as they’re prescribed wisely and performed carefully. These exercises can limber your neck muscles and give them the strength they need to support your head properly.
- Physiotherapy techniques – Our physical therapist may recommend heat, ice, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, massage therapy and other techniques to ease inflammation, relieve neck spasms, and speed healing.
- Lifestyle advice – Our physical therapist can recommend changes to your work environment, sleep position, pillow, everyday posture, and any other alterations to help you keep your neck comfortable.
Our Physical Therapists Are Ready to Help
Why suffer from a pain in the neck when physical therapy can take that pain away? Contact our physical therapists at Billings WY centers to obtain that welcome relief!