What’s causing my neck pain?
About 20% of the US adult population experiences neck pain. It is especially common after a car accident or a concussion but is also prevalent in people who sit most of the day. Neck pain can happen for many reasons, but usually, neck pain boils down to problems with the muscles, nerves, or joints of the neck. Some common causes are:
- “Text” neck
- Stress related muscle tension of the jaw, neck, base of the skull or shoulders
- Poor breathing patterns
- Shoulder girdle weakness.
- Trauma to the neck/head from a car accident or a fall
Some of the common conditions we treat:
- Cervical spondylosis: Wear and tear of bones, cartilage and disks in the neck.
- Disk herniation of the cervical spine: A cushion called the vertebral disk lies between bones in the neck. When the soft center of a spinal disk pushes through a crack in the tough exterior casing, it’s called a herniation. Not all disc herniations are painful and most can be treated to restore joint motion and alleviate any resultant nerve pain.
- Spinal stenosis: narrowing of spaces where nerves travel through the spinal column or between the bones of the spine. Stenosis can place pressure on nerves, resulting in pain, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, or difficulty walking.
- Whiplash: any impact or blow that causes your head to jerk forward and backward can cause neck strain. The sudden force stretches and/or tears the muscles and tendons in your neck.
- Cervical Radiculopathy: A pinched nerve in your neck can cause pain in the shoulder blade, upper arm, wrist and hand, as well as weakness and tingling or numbness in the arm.
What can Physical Therapy do to fix it?
Physical therapists are experts in evaluating and correcting faulty movement patterns, mobilizing joints and soft tissue and prescribing corrective exercises, all with the goal of getting you back to a pain free life. Even if you’ve had long standing neck pain, physical therapy can effectively alleviate pain by decreasing stiffness, increasing strength and empowering you to make a few simple changes with a huge return on investment.