Neck pain can present in so many different ways, and we have treated pretty much all of them here at Core! Over 30% of adults in the US will experience neck pain this year, and 50% of those adults will have it recur at some point in the future. That’s a lot of neck pain!
Sometimes it starts after a traumatic event like a car accident or a fall, but other times it seems to come out of nowhere - you turned your head and felt a pull, felt a pinch after lifting something overhead, wake up feeling stiff, or gradually over the course of several days feel like your neck is getting tighter and tighter. It can be scary, frustrating, and exhausting to have pain and limited motion, especially when it comes on suddenly.
Here are some common complaints often stemming from an issue in the neck:
Neck or shoulder pain with head movements (up/down, side to side)
Feeling like there’s always a knot in your upper back
Numbness or tingling into one or both arms
Neck pain or stiffness when rolling in bed at night
Feeling like your traps are always tight
Feeling stiff or “stuck” when turning your head side to side
The good news is, all of these complaints can be treated successfully with physical therapy! Your different symptoms and tests we perform help to determine the diagnosis and root cause of pain - commonly with your neck this can be a pinched nerve, arthritis, shoulder muscle weakness, or neck muscle weakness. There are certainly times where people benefit from seeing a pain management or spine specialist; physical therapists are trained to perform tests that help us determine if this is necessary right away.
No two people are the same, so no two injuries are the same; therefore, no two treatment plans are the exact same! However, the majority of people with an acute or chronic neck issue benefit from:
Neck muscle strengthening
Upper back strengthening
Thoracic spine mobility
Being strong and mobile through these areas helps take extra strain off the neck that contributes to stiffness and pain!
If all you’ve been doing to try to help your neck is use a heat pad, doing neck circles, and trying to stretch your traps, give some of these favorites a try!
If you’re thinking you might have neck pain and shoulder pain, check out this post (Link “is your shoulder pain really coming from your shoulder?” blog post) for some more tips on how to self-assess what’s giving you trouble!
Find this helpful? Awesome! Want more information on how to feel your best? Work with us!