Neck Pain After Physical Therapy
Neck pain is a common condition seen by physical therapists. The symptoms can range from an uncomfortable dull ache to sharp and stabbing pains that settle at the back of your neck. According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), approximately one third of Americans will experience neck pain at some point in their lives; left untreated, symptoms may worsen and even require surgery; however, many people find relief through physical therapy each year.
Exercise regularly, maintain good posture and get enough rest each night. Your physical therapist can also teach you ways to avoid positions that cause neck strain.
Acute neck pain can be caused by a variety of causes, such as poor posture, strained muscles in the neck area, overuse or accidents. Chronic neck pain could also indicate an underlying illness. Your physical therapist will conduct a comprehensive assessment to identify the source of your discomfort and create an individualized treatment plan to address it.
In such cases, your physical therapist will use a combination of manual therapy and exercises to alleviate pain and restore normal function. For instance, they may utilize ice packs, heat therapy or massage therapy to reduce discomfort in your neck area, ultrasound therapy to stimulate nerves carrying signals between the brain and spinal cord, as well as cervical traction to relieve pressure on discs in that region.
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications are often tried first to reduce discomfort and sensitivity of the affected area. These may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), acetaminophen, and muscle relaxants. If these don’t relieve your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe stronger medications to alleviate suffering.
Meningitis and rheumatoid arthritis are two illnesses and diseases that may cause neck pain. Both affect the soft tissues in your neck, decreasing healthy cartilage between vertebrae.
These pain conditions can also damage your neck joints, leading to moderate to severe discomfort. Just like any other joint in the body, age-related wear and tear on these joints causes them to erode away at healthy cartilage between vertebrae.
Your physical therapist will develop an individualized treatment program tailored to your neck condition and help you recover. They’ll collaborate with you on activities that cause pain in the area, stretch and strengthen muscles in both neck and back, as well as correcting posture.
The duration of your physical therapy program will depend on several factors, including your medical history, current symptoms and desired outcomes. Additionally, the PT team will assist you in creating a self-care routine that can be done from home for added convenience.