Physical therapy for neck pain

Physical Therapy for Neck Pain

You may have had a bad night’s sleep, slipped on a patch of ice, or gone too hard at the gym. You could be experiencing pain in your neck, and you may not even remember when it first began. This is a common story for many people, especially because neck pain can start not only from being active but also from being inactive. Long work days looking at a screen or just sitting too long in the wrong kind of chair can cause your mystery neck pain, and it doesn’t always just go away. 

At Evolution Physical Therapy, we treat people every day for neck and back pain, helping identify the source of the issue, treat it, and then provide guidance and education to prevent recurrence. So, regardless of whether your pain is inherently genetic or caused by an environmental factor, our specialists are here to help address your pain in the neck once and for all.

Causes of Neck Pain

Neck pain has several causes. It is important to visit your healthcare provider to discover what may be the source of your pain. Upon seeing a physical therapist, they can create a treatment plan that best suits your particular case. The following is a list of common causes of neck pain:

  • Poor Posture – This is an issue related to the position of your body alignment. You may naturally have poor posture, but it could also be caused by craning your head to look at your phone, carrying excess weight, being too sedentary, or even due to how you sit at your desk. 
  • Workspace Setup – This ties into poor posture. A workspace that does not offer your body the support that it needs, like a chair that is not ergonomic, or a desk that sits too high or low, can cause pain in your back and neck.
  • Injury- Injuries, such as those caused by a fall or accident or sports-related injuries, can leave you with lasting neck pain that can range from mild to severe
  • Arthritis or Osteoarthritis – Sometimes, terms such as cervical spondylosis or cervical osteoarthritis may be used to describe the degenerative disease that affects the spine or wear and tear of the vertebrae or discs in the neck. These conditions cause pain and weakness that can benefit greatly from working with a physical therapist.
  • Discogenic pain/Pinched Nerves- Pinched nerves in the neck, or cervical radiculopathy, can cause tingling and numbness, as well as a sensation of pain.
  • Muscle Strains- Straining the neck or muscles around the neck through sports, exercise, or movement can cause some pain in the neck region.
  • Underlying Genetic Factors – Inherited genes or congenital diseases may be behind some kinds of neck pain. Malformations, connective tissue disorders, or spinal cord abnormalities may cause pain to manifest in the neck.

How Does Physical Therapy Treat Neck Pain?

Depending on the cause of your neck pain, a physical therapist may be able to help. In fact, physical therapy may be the best treatment, depending on the underlying cause. In addition to prescribing a customized treatment plan, your PT at Evolution Physical Therapy will help you learn the best exercise and stretching when appropriate for your condition as well as help you learn more about your neck pain and how best to manage or prevent it. Some kinds of treatment for neck pain may include:

  • Manual Therapy
  • Deep Tissue/Sports Massage
  • Electrical Stimulation
  • Spine Care

Physical Therapist Evaluation of Neck Pain

Your Physical Therapist will evaluate your neck pain to determine a treatment plan or to decide if you need further testing, such as X-rays. Your PT may take your history, give a physical examination, and go through a movement assessment with you. 

Because Physical therapy is non-invasive and can be a first-line treatment for many types of neck pain, your therapist may be able to come up with a  treatment plan that day and get you started on your path to recovery.

Preventing Neck Pain

Many kinds of neck pain can be prevented altogether. Wearing proper equipment while playing sports, staying active and maintaining a healthy weight, or adjusting your workspace may lead to a life free of neck pain. In some cases, lifestyle can impact how often or to what degree a person experiences pain in the neck region. Incorporating strengthening exercises can help target the muscles of the neck and back. Individuals who work remotely or at a desk all day can try our guide here on ways to adjust a more neck-friendly workstation.

When to see a Physical Therapist for Neck Pain Relief

If you are having neck pain, have suffered a sports-related injury, had a slip or fall, or your provider has referred you to physical therapy for your injury or illness, your next steps will be setting up an appointment with a licensed physical therapist. At Evolution Physical Therapy, we have locations in California, Colorado, Connecticut, and Long Island, with specialist PT providers that offer a range of physical therapy services and help to provide you with the treatment, education, and additional support you need on your road to recovery. Reach out to us today by calling us to set up an appointment at a location near you, or fill out our Request an Appointment form.