According to the NCBI, roughly 20% of Americans experience neck pain at some point in their lifetime. Your neck contains the top most part of your cervical spine, which is a finely tuned instrument comprised of multiple components that work in combination to produce precise movements. If any of these components suffer injuries or wear out, it’s likely to lead to pain and stiffness.
In older people, neck pain is most commonly caused by worn joints or arthritis. Young people, on the other hand, can experience neck pain due to injuries or excessive strain. The most prevalent causes of neck pain include:
- Pinched nerves
- Worn joints
- Soft tissue injuries
- Disc degeneration
Physical therapy is one of the most commonly prescribed remedies for neck pain. Physical therapy programs for neck pain typically involve treatments that alleviate pain or stiffness to a degree that the patient can start an exercise program of stretching and strengthening the neck.
Physical Therapy Goals for Neck Pain
The following are the goals that are typically associated with physical therapy for neck pain:
- Reduced stiffness and pain
- Improved range of motion of the head and neck
- Dynamic strengthening of the neck musculature
- Developing strategies to avoid the recurrence of the problem
Even if physical therapy fails to completely eradicate pain, it may still play a critical role in improving the neck’s function for daily movements and posture.
Physical Therapy Treatment Methods
Physical therapy can be broken down into two common forms:
- Passive Physical Therapy: This form of physical therapy involves the application of treatments without any effort from the patient. Examples include massage therapy, heat therapy, application of ice packs, electrotherapy, ultrasound, and others.
- Active Physical Therapy:This form involves the patient performing exercises and stretches that strengthen the muscles in the affected area. By improving the flexibility and strength of the neck muscles, they may be able to maintain a good posture.
Efficacy of Physical Therapy as a Treatment for Neck Pain
There is a multitude of clinical studies that support the effectiveness of physical therapy for neck pain. For instance, a study conducted at the National Yang-Ming University in Taipei, Taiwan discovered that four weeks of physical therapy intervention for neck pain resulted in significant increases of cervical range of motion, decrease of pain, increases of physical performance measures, and decreases in the levels of disability.
StarLife Therapy Services is one of Houston’s best physical therapy and rehabilitation clinics. They combine the latest, state-of-the-art technology and innovative treatment methods to help patients overcome chronic pain and musculoskeletal disorders. Get in touch with them today for more information on their services or to make an appointment.