Neck pain, like back pain, is one of the most common reasons to visit a physical therapist. The neck, or cervical spine, is one of the more complex parts of the human body with 7 vertebrae protecting your spinal cord along with overlapping muscles, blood vessels and nerves, packed tightly into the narrow area of your neck. While strong in nature the neck is often quite delicate. Poor posture, a bad night's sleep, clenching your teeth or simply carrying around a purse all day can cause neck pain. Other obvious injuries like whiplash from a car accident or a sports injury can cause neck pain but it's not always this easy to point to the exact cause of one's pain. With more than 25% of Americans reporting neck pain physical therapy has been proven to treat and help relieve symptoms.
Headaches can be caused by a variety of conditions including those caused by musculoskeletal issues of the neck, called cervicogenic headaches. When pressure is placed on the neck, from poor posture or sudden impact, the result can be a headache. Restricted neck motion, pain in the neck or base of skull and neck muscle sensitivity to the touch when accompanied by a headache are all signs you may have a cervicogenic headache.
Your All Star physical therapist will complete a comprehensive evaluation of your neck to determine the cause of your pain and the best way to treat your symptoms. This evaluation might include measuring your range of motion, strength, alignment and posture. The goal of physical therapy will be to strengthen and stretch the affected areas to promote healing, reduce pain and make more flexible. Through specialized hands-on techniques, stretching, and strength building your therapist will build a comprehensive treatment plan to quickly reduce your pain. This plan may also include heat, ice, ultrasound and electric stimulation which help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Education is also an important aspect of treating neck pain. Teaching proper posture and body mechanics will help patients prevent future neck injuries.