Updated: Jun 8
Back pain affects millions of Americans each year. If you've been suffering from neck pain, you're likely to have seen a variety of options when searching for potential treatments. One such option is physical therapy, one of the most common methods long-term pain sufferers frequently use.
In addition to lifestyle changes and personal activity regimens, many patients are under the care of a physical therapist who employs a number of intervention strategies to help with neck pain.
Our New York pain management clinic offers physical therapy for reducing pain, restoring function, and preventing further injury. This blog post explains how physical therapy may be right for treating your neck pain.
What is Neck Pain?
Neck pain is a problem that many people face in their lifetime. Your neck has been supporting all the weight of your head since you were born, and as you age, it becomes more and more difficult to carry that weight around. Believe it or not, your neck is actually quite complex and has many components, including bony structures and nerves that travel through the area.
Neck pain can be caused by various things, such as trauma sustained in an accident, degeneration or disease (such as arthritis), poor posture, repetitive stress, or simply because of the way you sit or sleep.
What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is a branch of healthcare that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of pain, disability, and movement dysfunction. It is a treatment that focuses on the use of physical means (e.g., exercise, massage, heat, cold) and/or physical agents (e.g., ultrasound, electricity) to improve function or reduce pain.
Physical therapists are highly trained professionals who are experts in the management of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions and can address both chronic and acute conditions.
The physical therapist uses a wide range of techniques to help improve movement and decrease pain while also helping you learn new ways to move your body safely to avoid future injury. The physical therapy treatment process has three phases: assessment, intervention, and evaluation.
• During the assessment phase, a physical therapist will use various tests and assess your posture, strength, and flexibility. This helps determine whether you're ready for physical therapy treatment or if other treatments are needed first.
• During the intervention, the physical therapist will explain what they think is causing your pain or discomfort and how they plan to treat it. They'll also teach you exercises that can help relieve symptoms and improve your overall health so that you can resume normal activities as soon as possible.
• The evaluation phase is used to measure your progress toward achieving your goals for recovery. It's important for both you and your physical therapist to monitor how well their treatment plan is working so that any changes can be made as needed before you leave therapy.
What are the Goals of Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy has a lot to offer to those who suffer from neck pain. Physical therapy can treat not only the symptoms of neck pain but also the cause. If done correctly, physical therapists can help you to find lasting relief. The goals of physical therapy for neck pain may include the following:
• Reducing pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Physical therapy can help reduce the effects of inflammation and swelling that can contribute to discomfort in your neck and shoulders.
• Improving range of motion. Range of motion is important for all daily activities, such as turning your head to look over your shoulder or reaching up to grab something from a high shelf. Your physical therapist will make sure that you are doing exercises correctly so that you don't cause further injury to your neck or increase the pain in this area.
• Strengthening muscles around the injured area to improve stability and support. If you have an injury in one part of your body — such as a sprained ankle — it's important to strengthen other parts of your body so they can help compensate for weakness caused by the injury at first (until it heals). For example, if one side of your body is weaker than the other because of an injury, then strengthening exercises on both sides will help keep your spine straight.
• Improvement in posture. When you've been dealing with neck pain for a long time, it's easy to develop poor posture habits that can make the problem worse and even lead to other health issues like neck pain. Your PT will work with you on ways to improve your posture so your body is working properly again.
• Reducing stress on the neck and shoulders. Physical therapists can teach patients how to use their muscles properly so that they don't overload certain areas or create new imbalances in their bodies. This helps reduce pain and improves overall health and well-being.
• Reducing muscle tightness and weakness in the neck and upper back. Physical therapists can assess the strength of your muscles and recommend exercises that will improve balance and posture, as well as reduce pain.
Physical Therapy Can Help
It's important to remember that neck pain can be the result of a number of factors. Therefore, the treatment methods to be used will depend on the underlying cause, which is why it's important to see your healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis.
The role that physical therapy plays in the treatment of neck pain cannot be understated. It can help aid recovery, prevent further injury, and keep you on the path to overall pain relief and recovery without surgery and medication.
We hope that this article helps you learn that physical therapists can help you manage the pain that comes with neck problems and teach you exercises to strengthen your neck. And they will help you create an effective plan of action for yourself if you have any concerns or obstacles in your life that may affect your recovery.
The next time you have a painful neck, don't be afraid to seek help from a physical therapist to work out the problem. If you're ready to get back on the road to recovery and are ready to get started, contact our New York pain management clinic today!