Do you spend several hours a day at the computer? If so, it’s important to know that this is one of the leading causes of chronic neck pain. Other causes include pinched nerves, muscle imbalance, poor posture, and trauma. Neck pain can manifest in different ways. Besides pain, symptoms may include stiffness and tingling if sensitive nerves in the neck area are involved. Certain movements may aggravate the symptoms of neck pain.
If you suffer from chronic neck pain, you are not alone. According to Harvard Health Publications, seven out of ten Americans will deal with neck pain at some point in their lives. The good news is that simple exercises (as prescribed by your physical therapist) can offer relief from your chronic neck pain. If you’ve been living with neck pain for several weeks, your pain is considered chronic. Your physical therapist can use a variety of techniques including manual therapy and therapeutic exercises to stretch and strengthen the sensitive muscles in the neck region. This is important for the long-term relief of chronic neck pain.
Controlled, supervised exercise can help improve blood flow to the muscles in the neck and restore muscle balance, in addition to helping the individual regain joint mobility. A physical therapist will create an exercise program that can be completed at home, or at work. In some cases, the use of weight cuffs and dumbbells helps build muscle strength. The number of sets and repetitions is carefully planned, and the technique, range of motion, posture and breathing of all your movements is supervised by the physical therapist. Once your pain level reduces, a physical therapist will help you regain control of your muscles to reduce pain and get you back to full function.
Improving posture is an important component of treatment for chronic pain. Poor posture can lead to chronic neck pain. Have you thought about the amount of time you are at your computer? Or even how you sit in your chair? Your physical therapist will evaluate your posture and help you improve it with simple stretching and strengthening movements.
When you are at home or at work, hot and cold packs and a neck pillow can also be helpful. Your therapist can teach you simple techniques to promote muscle relaxation and help reduce pain.
If you have been dealing with chronic neck pain for several weeks, it’s time to call your physical therapist. As the community’s recognized experts in physical therapy, we can diagnose your pain and help rule out potential concerns such as a herniated disc.
An assessment from a physical therapist is an important step in the fight against chronic neck pain. After the initial evaluation, expect your physical therapist to create a program combining exercise, stretching, postural correction and relaxation to help you recover from chronic neck pain. You will move better and feel better.
You don’t have to learn to live with chronic neck pain anymore. Schedule an appointment with us today and we’ll help you get started on the road to a pain-free lifestyle.