Physical Therapy Treatments For Neck Pain Relief
Physical therapy is considered one of the most effective treatments for chronic neck pain relief. Most of the physical therapy program for neck pain in Oklahoma City, OK, involves the application of various treatments and techniques to relieve pain and stiffness in the neck. It includes multiple exercises involving stretching or strengthening exercises to treat neck pain.
Causes of Neck Pain
There are various causes of neck pain. Let’s have a look at some of the possible causes of neck pain:
- Aging – Various degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis can lead to neck pain as age. Over time, stress and motion can cause spinal disc degeneration, causing herniated disc or a pinched nerve.
- Injury – Trauma caused by the sudden forced movements on your neck or head and rebound in the opposite direction can cause pain and soreness in your neck. Traumatic injuries can affect the cervical spinal cord’s muscles, ligaments, discs, vertebral joints, and nerve roots.
- Mental Stress – The tightening of the muscles in and around your neck due to mental stress and tension can cause stiffness and pain.
- Physical Strain – Stiffness and soreness in your neck can result from overusing the neck muscles during strenuous or repetitive activity.
- Conditions Affecting Spinal Balance – Poor posture (prolonged sitting; wrong location of the computer/keyboard/chair), being overweight, and having weak abdominal muscles can all impact spine posture and contribute to neck pain.
Diagnosis Of Neck Pain
A medical practitioner diagnoses your neck pain by conducting a physical examination and adequately looking at your medical history. Your medical practitioner may suggest various tests to assess your condition. Some of them are as follows:
- X-rays – X-rays can indicate locations in the neck where bone spurs or other alterations may cause nerve or spinal cord compression.
- CT-Scan – CT scans combine X-ray pictures collected from multiple angles to provide cross-sectional views of the structures within the neck.
- MRI – MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create detailed images of bones and soft tissues. The soft tissues include the disks, the spinal cord, and the nerves coming from the spinal cord.
Physical Therapy Methods
There are usually two types of physical therapy methods for the treatment of chronic neck pain:
- Passive Physical Therapy – Passive physical therapy treatment refers to the treatments applied without effort from the patient. The main aim behind passive physical therapy is to provide you relief from pain and swelling. There are different methods of passive physical therapy treatment, such as ice therapy, heat therapy, electrotherapy, ultrasound, and many others.
- Active Physical Therapy – Active physical therapy usually leads to the patient’s involvement in moving their body through various stretches or exercises. It leads to the improvement of strength and flexibility of the neck, which helps reduce the pain in the muscles around the neck, and thus you can maintain good posture.
Types of Passive Physical Therapy
Some types of passive physical therapy involve the following:
- Ice Or Hot Therapy – Ice or hot therapy can be applied to reduce the pain and swelling in the body. Heat therapy leads to increasing the flow of blood and loosening stiff muscles. In some cases, heat and cold therapy may be alternated depending on the patient’s injury or preferences.
- Massage Therapy: Massage therapy may help loosen and relax the muscles, which helps reduce pain and stiffness. While providing treatment for neck pain, it is essential to massage the back and the surrounding areas of the body, including the back and the shoulder.
- Electrotherapy – This therapy uses a device for sending mild electric current using wires to the injured or painful areas. There are various types of electrotherapy for different purposes, which involves altering the signals of pain, stimulating the contraction of muscles, promoting healing of the tissues, and sending medicine to provide you relief through the skin.
Types Of Active Physical Therapy
Some of the most common active physical therapy for reducing neck pain involves the following:
- Neck Stretches And Exercises – Some stretches and exercises may be prescribed to train the muscles attached directly to the cervical spine. Chin tuck is a common neck exercise involving looking forward and gently pulling the chin straight back.
- Core And Back Strengthening – Your back and core muscles around the neck also benefit from the strengthening exercise to improve the neck’s strength and flexibility. In addition, these muscles also provide support to the spine to improve posture.
- Aquatic Exercise – Some exercises are performed in a pool. The buoyancy of the water can take the pressure out of the spinal cord and allow the muscles to keep working. But aerobic exercises are usually not recommended in the case of severe neck pain.
The most common types of mild to moderate neck pain usually respond within two or three weeks to self-care. If the pain doesn’t go away on its own, physical therapy may be suggested by your medical practitioner to provide long-lasting relief from your neck pain without using any medications or surgery.