Medical data suggests that roughly one in three Americans deal with neck pain each year, and it seems likely that the percentage will only increase as we’re constantly craining our necks to look down at our smartphones or laptops. Problems with your neck can develop for a number of different reasons, ranging from disc degeneration to a compressed nerve or even tissue damage.
Thankfully, the majority of common neck conditions can be successfully treated with a physical therapy regimen. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at what conditions can benefit from physical therapy, and how PT can help with your neck injury.
How Physical Therapy Can Help With Chronic Neck Pain
You ask your neck to perform many tasks each and every day, and oftentimes we don’t pay much attention to the stress we’re putting on our neck until a problem occurs. Symptoms that can indicate a soft tissue or nerve issue in your neck include:
- Localized pain
- Pain that radiates down your extremities
- Inhibited range of motion
- Difficulty looking up or over your shoulder
- Arm or leg weakness
All of these symptoms can be debilitating and affect your quality of life, and oftentimes they won’t just resolve on their own. Many people turn to painkillers or short-term rest to help calm symptoms, but these passive treatment options don’t tend to address the root cause or pain. If you’re treating the symptoms instead of the underlying cause of pain, it’s unlikely you’ll experience full relief. That’s where physical therapy comes in.
Physical therapy for neck problems is designed to hone in on the underlying cause of your issue. We begin by reviewing your medical records and conducting some baseline tests of our own. By setting a baseline and learning which movements cause symptoms to develop or dissipate, we can determine what’s causing your pain and the best way to attack it.
We then move forward with a comprehensive treatment plan that focuses on the following:
- Strengthening Exercises – We’ll develop an exercise routine that can strengthen weakened structures, limit further degeneration or calm irritating inflammation in the neck region.
- Increased Flexibility – Stretching and controlled exercise techniques will work on safely improving your range of motion so that certain movements are no longer painful.
- Patient Education – We also work to educate our patients on all the factors that led to their neck injury and how to avoid additional damage or an injury recurrence in the future. Many people are unaware how certain actions are jeopardizing the health of their neck, and we can help point out some activities that may be overly stressful on your neck.
- Posture Care – Protecting your neck isn’t just important during activity, it’s also imperative that you mind your neck positioning during more sedentary activities like when you’re working at the office or driving in your car. We’ll implement posture improvement and education techniques so that you aren’t putting your neck at risk when you’re seated.
- Self-Help Tools – Finally, we give each patient the tools they need to manage a flareup or a recurrence down the road. We can help provide you with strength training and stretching exercises that you can continue long after therapy is over to help keep your neck in top shape and prevent problems from coming back.
If you’re interested in learning more about what we can do for your neck injury, reach out to the talented team at OrthoRehab Specialists today.