You Don’t Have to Live with a Pain in the Neck
By Dr. Frankie Goris, PT, DPT, CSCS
The human spine is an amazing organ. We rely on it to support the body and help us walk, twist and move. But as many of us know too well, the stresses and strains of daily life (and even poor sleep posture) can cause pain and sometimes injury that interferes with the spine’s smooth functioning Let’s focus on a particular part of the spine that often gives us trouble – the neck.
Most neck pain is associated with poor posture combined with age-related wear and tear. It can also be caused by sudden trauma such as a fall, sports injury, or car accident, or by long-term problems in the spine. Poor posture, obesity, smoking, repetitive lifting, office and computer work, and involvement in athletic activity are all risk factors for neck and spine pain. And certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis or cancer, may cause neck pain.
Neck pain can make it harder to work, drive, play sports, sleep, or simply turn your head. Some neck-related problems include:
• Inability to bend or rotate the neck.
• Difficulty looking up.
• Difficulty looking over the shoulder.
• Weak arm and shoulder muscles.
• Muscle spasms.
• Pain in the neck, upper back, shoulders, arms, or hands.
• Numbness or tingling in the neck, shoulders, arms, or hands.
• Weakness in the arms.
• Increased pain when coughing, sneezing, reaching, or sitting.
• Inability to stand straight or sit up straight.
How Physical Therapy Can Help
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, recent research has shown that physical therapy is a better treatment than surgery or pain medication (such as opioid medication) for relieving many cases of neck pain. Physical therapy treatments often can help people avoid the need for surgery or medication altogether.
Your Scerbo physical therapist will work with you to design a specific treatment program that will speed your recovery and return you to your normal lifestyle and activities by helping you to:
• Reduce pain and other symptoms.
• Avoid surgery in most cases.
• Improve incorrect posture including during sleep.
• Improve motion through specific activities and treatments.
• Improve flexibility through the performance of special stretches.
• Improve strength through core strengthening or stabilization.
• Improve muscular endurance to pre-pain levels.
• Learn a home program of strengthening, stretching, and pain-reduction exercises to speed your recovery.
In addition, your physical therapist may teach you the correct ways to lift objects (called “body mechanics”) that will help protect your neck from further injury while you’re doing that spring cleaning and gardening! Why suffer from neck pain when your Scerbo therapists are here to help you heal – call Scerbo Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation at our state-of-the-art Edgewater, NJ facility, 201-941-2240.