Manual Physical Therapy
Common causes of neck pain are poor posture, sleep position, too much stress, a sudden twist, or age- related wear and tear. Symptoms of neck pain include headaches, dizziness/lightheadedness, and shoulder pain. There can also be neurological symptoms such as numbness and tingling into the arms and hands.
Headaches often correspond with neck pain. Types of headaches include: tension, sinus and allergy, migraine, and cluster. Tension headaches can be caused by muscle spasm in the neck or jaw, decreased joint mobility, poor posture, and disc issues.
Many occupations and lifestyles require us to be looking at a computer, driving, or using our phones for most of the day. This can lead to poor posture and increased stress on the neck. With increased stress, there is an increased likelihood of pain and limited mobility. In recent years, the increased in work from home jobs has caused an uptick in occurrence.
The goals of physical therapy for neck pain include reducing pain and stiffness, improving range of motion, and developing dynamic strengthening of the neck and supporting muscles. Physical therapists will use techniques of manual therapy and trigger point dry needling to reduce the muscle tension in the neck and create new muscle memory. Exercise will be used to reduce muscle spasm from coming back and strengthen postural support musculature. Strengthening can also help to reduce headaches and keep them from coming back. There is strong evidence in research that stabilization exercises, along with manual therapy can help improve activation and strength of the muscles surrounding the neck; therefore, reducing pain. There are high rates of recurrence of neck pain which is why preventative measures are important to maintain a low level of neck pain.