Your head and neck region is vulnerable to many different stresses. Bad posture can cause misalignment of your neck, head, and spine. Car accidents can cause whiplash. Age and wear and tear can cause arthritis. Even activities such as gum chewing and reading in bed can cause pain. How do we avoid these potential problems? And if we can’t avoid them, how can we recover as quickly as possible?
Whatever the nature of your problem, physical therapy by a licensed physical therapist can often help you recover function quickly and teach you new habits to minimize the risk of further pain or injury.
Some of the most common causes of neck pain and sometimes headaches are:
Posture. The basic rule is simple: Keep your neck in a “neutral” position whenever possible. In other words, don’t bend or hunch your neck forward for long periods.
Sleeping position. Does your pillow cause you to sleep with your neck at an angle, either too high or too low? If so, you may want to invest in a new pillow. The correct pillow should keep your spine straight and your neck in a “neutral” position.
Lifting technique. People often think of the lower back as the area most at risk when lifting, but the cervical region is nearly as vulnerable.
Shopper’s tilt. Carrying items on one shoulder for a long period of time, and carrying items that are too heavy often cause neck pain.
Talking on the phone. Some people are in the habit of cradling the telephone receiver between the shoulder and the neck. Not only does this put stress on the neck, but over a long period it can cause the cervical discs to place pressure on the nerves. If you spend a great deal of time on the phone, you might try-neck cradles, speaker phones, or a “hands-free” set.
TMJ Disorders. Because the neck and the TMJ are so closely connected, the TMJ can cause neck pain-and vice versa. In some cases a dentist may need to create an oral retainer to allow the joint to rest and let healing begin.
Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is inflammation of the joints caused by wear and tear. Osteoarthritis in the neck is characterized by stiffness and limited range of motion.
Whiplash. Probably the most common traumatic injury to the neck region. It is frequently associated with automobile accidents.
Physical therapy always begins with a detailed history and evaluation of the problem. Your physical therapist will take many things into account, including your age, general health, occupation, and lifestyle. If major trauma or disease is involved, your physical therapist will work with you in consultation with a physician.
After a diagnosis has been made, your physical therapist may choose from a range of treatment options, including exercises for flexibility, strength, stability, and restoration of range of motion. Other options include ice, heat, electrical stimulation, traction or mobilization, and massage. Your physical therapist may also analyze your home and work environment in order to ensure that you’re not re-injuring yourself.
Much evidence suggests that low-impact aerobics, and stationary bicycling may also be helpful in decreasing neck pain. A physical therapist can design a pain-free exercise program just for you.
Once your physical therapy goals are met, your physical therapist will help you continue therapy on your own with a home program designed to fit your needs. The goal of physical therapy is to return you to normal activity as quickly as possible, with the knowledge you need to minimize or eliminate your problem.
Aquamed Dry Hydrotherapy
ATM (Acute Therapeutic Movement)
Integrative Dry Needling