When that “pain the neck” isn’t just a saying
Neck pain is extremely common; one in three people will experience neck pain this year, and for many people, the pain will go away on its own. However, others may experience continued pain and disability long after the initial injury or onset of pain. Often there is no clear “why” for your neck pain—studies have shown that neck pain, like back pain, is not necessarily caused by arthritis or herniated disc shown on your X-ray or MRI. While there may not be a clear answer for why you have neck pain, our physical therapists can help you map out your path back to a normal, pain-free neck.
Your neck, or cervical spine, is made up of seven cervical vertebrae and connects to your thoracic spine (upper back). It serves to support your head and protect your spinal cord, and has many muscle attachments. Neck pain often affects more than just the neck—you may feel pain between your shoulder blades, in your shoulders, or even have headaches. The nerves in your neck may also be involved with your neck pain, causing numbness, tingling, or weakness into your arms and hands.
Office workers are more susceptible to neck pain because prolonged postures (sitting, staring at a computer screen) can cause increased stiffness, while poor ergonomics and repetitive movements such as mousing can increase the likelihood of developing numbness or tingling into the hands. Your physical therapist will assess your neck, upper back, and arms, but they may also ask about your office set up and how frequently you move throughout the day. Here are some common conditions we treat:
Commonly Treated Neck Conditions:
- Muscle strain
- Ligament sprain
- Herniated disc
- Pinched nerve (radiculopathy)
- Neck stiffness or chronic pain
- Arthritis or degenerative joint disease
When to seek a physical therapist:
- You have increased neck pain or stiffness in the morning
- You are experiencing numbness, tingling, or weakness into the arms or hands
- You have started having headaches or have noticed a change in your normal headaches (frequency, quality, or intensity)
- Your neck or upper back/shoulders feel tight or painful after sitting or standing for long periods of time
- You are unable to complete your normal activities of daily living or work duties because of your neck pain or discomfort
- Turning your head causes pain
- You feel like just stretching isn’t alleviating your symptoms
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have been diagnosed with one of the conditions listed above, come see us to start your recovery today.