Physical Therapy for Neck Pain
What is neck pain?
Neck pain is pain that’s felt in the neck – with pain that sometimes impacts the arm or shoulder as well.
At times, it may feel like a constant, dull ache, while at other times it can cause radiating pain that causes tingling and numbness down your arm. Neck pain can also vary in intensity – it can be slightly annoying or chronically crippling.
The good news is that while neck pain is common, physical therapy can help ensure neck pain doesn’t interfere with the life you want to live.
Neck Pain Symptoms
Because the neck connects many integral parts of your upper body, neck pain can be felt in various areas. It can also range from tightness to radiating pain. It’s common for neck pain to travel down your neck and extend to your shoulder blade, shoulder, arm, hand or fingers.
Neck pain can cause further symptoms including headaches, difficulty concentrating and struggling to complete everyday tasks, like reaching, lifting or even turning your head.
Neck pain can feel like:
- Tightness in your neck
- Inability to move your neck side to side, called rotation, or up and down, also known as extension and flexion
- Pain in your shoulder or shoulder blade
- Pain radiating down your arm
- Numbness or tingling sensations in your arm, hand, or finger
What causes neck pain?
Neck pain can be triggered by a multitude of conditions. Workouts, sport injuries, car accidents, and even sitting at a desk all day can put strain on the neck, leading to pain and discomfort.
Common causes of neck pain include:
- Carrying stress in shoulders and neck
- Poor posture
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Whiplash associated disorders
- Sprains and strains
- Herniated discs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Pinched nerve, also known as cervical radiculopathy
- Narrowed spinal canal, or stenosis
Physical Therapy for Neck Pain
If you’re experiencing any of these painful symptoms, it’s a great time to seek the help of a physical therapist, especially one who specializes in neck pain physical therapy. Physical therapy is an effective way to relieve chronic neck pain.
Most physical therapy for neck pain includes a series of exercises designed to reduce pain, strengthen muscles and increase flexibility. Physical therapy has long been the preferred option for treating neck pain. Most physical therapy for neck pain focuses on reducing pain and stiffness enough so that you can begin a workout program that will allow you to continue strengthening and stretching your neck.
Physical therapists will likely work with you to maintain proper posture, which is important for maintaining the optimal length and stability of your neck, and physical therapy exercises will often address posture issues.
What happens in physical therapy for neck pain?
Typically, physical therapy exercises include strengthening and stretching, which strengthen neck muscles and increase the flexibility in cervical muscles. Stronger back and core muscles help maintain proper spinal cord stability.
A licensed physical therapist will be able to help you achieve pain relief, as well as teach you ways to prevent neck pain from returning. In creating a neck pain physical therapy program just for you, your physical therapist will be able to recommend strengthening exercises, help you reduce pain, maintain good posture, increase blood flow, and prevent further injury.
How long does physical therapy take to reduce neck pain?
Many physical therapists say that, on average, those experiencing neck pain will find relief in six to twelve weeks of physical therapy.
Chronic neck pain conditions, such as arthritis or radiating arm pain, can require additional physical therapy treatments and more thorough evaluations. Of course, it’s best to consult with a physical therapist who can work with you to understand the source of your neck pain, determine any underlying conditions and create a customized physical therapy plan for you.
Ready to move beyond your neck pain?
Are you looking for a physical therapist near you that can help with your neck pain?
If you’re in the East County area of San Diego, Live Life Physiotherapy can help! Live Life Physiotherapy provides customized mobile physical therapy in San Diego to those who need it, where they need it.
Every day, we help residents of La Mesa, El Cajon, Santee, Lakeside, Del Cerro, San Carlos, and the surrounding areas with their physical therapy needs by removing many of the common restrictions and challenges of traditional physical therapy. Our ultimate goal is to help you live your best life.
If you are limited because of neck pain and ready to live life on your terms, contact us today!