Your neck is an incredibly sensitive and complex part of your body, and because of this neck pain can be debilitating. Neck pain can come in a wide variety of forms. It can be chronic or acute, sharp or dull, but whatever the type and cause, all neck pain shares one clear detail in common: It needs to be addressed, and quickly. Ignoring your neck pain can lead to complications with your injury and in some situations can even lead to worsened pain! The smart thing to do is to get help as quickly as possible.
The Cause of Neck Pain
The neck is directly connected to the spine and head. This means that it is at a crucial position in the body, but one that makes it more susceptible to serious issues. Neck pain can develop after a serious back injury, or it can develop as tension builds due to emotional stressors. Identifying the cause of your neck pain is step one in determining the right treatment.
Common causes of neck pain include:
- Whiplash, as from a car accident or similar injury
- Poor posture
- Repeated motion
- Tension build-up
Physical Therapy for Neck Pain
There are a series of practices available through physical therapy proven to be helpful in addressing neck pain. Musculoskeletal experts have found that targeted exercises that improve flexibility, strength, and range of motion are much more effective at treating neck pain than are medicinal treatments.
Typically, physical therapy for neck pain will incorporate manual therapy, which includes movement and trigger point therapy to alleviate tension in the neck, as well as stretching and strengthening targeted exercises. In addition, your physical therapist may want to do a series of imaging tests, including an ultrasound, to have a clearer understanding of what is causing the pain in the neck, and this could lead to more specified treatment options.
Many physical therapists will be able to make ergonomic recommendations that can help you reduce neck pain by providing your neck with more targeted support when you drive, sit at your desk, and even when you sleep. This can be an additional helpful source of support!