Understanding Neck Pain

Understanding Neck Pain | Capitol Physical Therapy | Washington DC Physical Therapists

Nobody likes a pain in the neck.

But you don’t have to have suffered a major injury to experience recurring neck pain.

If you’re bothered by neck pain, you have plenty of company.

Approximately 30% of the US population suffers from neck pain each year, with all genders affected.

Sudden or chronic pain in the neck can affect the surrounding nerves, bones, joints, and the discs between the bones.

Many people turn to surgery or pharmaceuticals like opioids for relieving chronic, debilitating neck pain.

But recent research has shown that physical therapy for chronic pain can also be an effective treatment for reducing neck discomfort and improving range of motion.

Physical therapy can help people avoid surgery or the need for medication altogether, especially when combined with other treatment methods, such as aerobic activity.

Just because neck pain is so common, doesn’t mean you should suffer through it.

Why not get help?

Let us show you how easy it is to start on the path to living pain free.

The first step towards healing is identifying the location and source of your neck pain.

Let’s take a closer look.

What Is Neck Pain?

Our neck is made up of the vertebrae, inter-vertebral discs, joints, and muscles.

Injury, impact, surgery, misalignment, or degenerative disease can cause strain and inflammation to the areas of the neck.

In extreme cases, pains in the neck can extend into the upper back, shoulder blades, shoulders, arms, or hands.

Symptoms Of Neck Pain

Common symptoms of neck pain include:

  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Muscle spasms
  • Frequent headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Inability to bend or rotate the neck, or turn the head
  • Difficulty sitting up straight, standing, or remaining in one position
  • Increased pain when coughing, sneezing, reaching, or sitting
  • Pain that worsens in the morning or at night
  • Difficulty working, driving, walking, or playing sports

Because your neck is part of your spine, it’s not uncommon for neck pain to be associated with spinal issues, like lower back pain, sciatica, or herniated discs.

How Does Neck Pain Feel

Neck pain is often described as “stiffness in the neck,” as if it has frozen in one position.

Neck pain can feel like a sharp stabbing or pinching, prolonged soreness, a dull aching, throbbing, or an electrical current travelling through the nerves to the shoulders, arms, or hands.

You should also be aware when neck pain is more serious because it can indicate a main artery tear, which on rare occasions can lead to a stroke.

What Causes Neck Pain?

The source of neck pain isn’t limited to falls, car accidents, and sports injuries.

A poor ergonomic setup at work, athletic activities, sleeping position, or posture could be a contributing factor.

Degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, and cancer have also been shown to affect the neck’s range of motion.

Even a persistent cough can be agitating.

Plus, it’s important to consider that psychological risk factors like chronic stress, anxiety, depression, and a lack of social support are important risk factors for neck pain.

You might also injure your neck if you’re overcompensating for another pain or imbalance in your body.

For example, if you have a repetitive strain injury in your back or shoulder and do not seek treatment for it, over time you could begin to feel symptoms in your neck due to your body’s misalignment.

Dry needling is a good solution to consider to reduce your pain, naturally.

How Can Physical Therapy Treatments For Neck Pain Help?

There’s no single treatment for neck pain when it comes to physical therapy in Washington DC.

Neck physical therapy sessions will vary from person to person, depending on the type of neck pain, the cause of the pain, your medical history, and your physical abilities.

Most therapy plans will include guided stretching, strengthening, and mobility exercises.

The goal is to ensure our clients are on the path to recovery, following a plan that is manageable to them.

how a physical therapist can help with neck pain | Capitol Physical Therapy | Washington DC Physical Therapists

1. Pain Management

Your physical therapist will help you understand how to avoid strenuous or repetitive movement, or any activities that may have caused your injury.

A hot or cold compress, massage, TENS, or dry needling may be recommended to assist in the healing process.

There are a variety of hands-on techniques and technologies available in physical therapy for pain management which can help.

Empowering yourself with these techniques while working within your personal limitations will help you to obtain your goal.

2. Improving Your Posture

Improving your flexibility, strength, and posture will help manage chronic pain.

When you heal one facet of the body, it ripples throughout the whole body.

If you’ve been referred to physical therapy to improve neck strength and functioning, your back and core muscles may also benefit from strengthening.

By improving strength and flexibility in your neck, your muscles will relax and become less painful.

From there, you’ll be better able to maintain good posture, which in turn reduces stress on the cervical spine.

Two really great activities to help improve your flexibility, strength, and posture are yoga and pilates.

3. Range Of Motion Exercise

Exercises are grouped into two categories: passive exercise and active exercise.

Passive exercise involves treatment applied without effort on your end.

Examples of passive exercise include heat therapy, massage therapy, ultrasound, and electrotherapy.

Active exercise involves the patient moving their own body through stretches and aerobics.

4. Improve Strength And Endurance

Physical therapy sessions are often geared toward restoring your endurance and strength to the level they were at prior to your injury.

Core strengthening or “stabilization” is commonly used to increase your muscle mass and coordination of muscles around the spine to build up your strength and agility.

5. Perform Your Activities Safely

Your treatment program will be specially designed to help you reach your recovery goals in the safest way possible.

Your physical therapist will give you the tools to help protect your spine when lifting, moving objects, playing sports, or pursuing any other professional or leisure activities you enjoy.

This is called “body mechanics,” and is designed to prevent re-injury.

Your physical therapist will also teach you how to warm up before exercising to reduce your risk of injury and give you tips on how to relieve muscle soreness after working out.

This way, you can get the most out of your exercise.

Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today

If you’ve had a recent injury, are experiencing recurring neck pain, or have an illness that is affecting the mobility of your neck, physical therapy could be right for you.

Your first appointment with our team will be a full assessment of your history, range of motion, posture, and personal goals.

Remember, it’s important to stick to your treatment in order to get the most out of it.

Book your appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy today.

Capitol Physical Therapy
1331 H St NW #200,
Washington, DC 20005

- https://g.page/capitolptdc

9560 Pennsylvania Ave. # 202,
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

- https://goo.gl/maps/zjL4NnnuThRhrcS86

Capitol Physical Therapy offers orthopedic and other pain related solutions, with our versitile team of physical therapists in Washington, DC