That Nagging Neck Pain

Nagging neck painHas neck pain got you moving as stiffly as Frankenstein? Well, you don’t have to be a mad scientist to do something about it! You don’t need bolts in your neck either. All you need is some physical therapy to relax the muscles and restore normal function. First, though, let’s take a closer look at how that nagging neck pain began, so we can address the problem and prevent further discomfort.

Causes and Symptoms

Neck pain can stem from muscles, nerves, and skeletal issues.  Depending on which of these is affected, people typically describe a symptom of stiffness that makes it hard to turn their head. Others experience numbness and tingling.

Many times this type of pain is caused by strain and tension in our everyday activities: sleeping in an awkward position, poor posture while working at your desk or watching TV, and jarring movements during exercise. It can also be the result of an accident or fall in which a vertebral fracture, sprain, whiplash, ruptured disk, or other injury occurred. Still other culprits include abnormalities in the joints or bones, and medical conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, or cancer. That is why it is important that you see a doctor if you are experiencing pain in your neck, to rule out any serious conditions that should be addressed immediately.

Diagnosis and Treatment

An Xray, MRI, or CT scan can help identify the source of the pain, so that appropriate treatment can be determined. We may recommend using heat and ice, as well as anti-inflammatory medication, to reduce any pain and swelling. Take a break from physical activity, and try a different pillow when sleeping. Massage can help relax the muscles and ease soreness as well. To expedite recovery, the experts at Castle Pines Physical Therapy can take you through slow range-of-motion exercises, gradually building up to a more rigorous routine until full function is restored and mobility is pain-free.

If the spinal cord or nerve roots have been damaged, surgery may need to be performed before rehabilitation can begin.

Do's and Don’ts

Things to avoid for those with neck pain include running, football, golf, weightlifting, and ballet. Do not try to lift your legs while lying on your stomach, or do sit-ups without your knees bent. You can slowly return to these activities once your pain subsides, and you can make some changes that will help prevent the problem from coming back.

Remind yourself to sit up straight to ensure good posture. Position your computer monitor at eye level so that it does not require you to look too far up or down when you read. It’s also a good idea to use a phone head set and reevaluate your sleeping conditions. Finally, use relaxation techniques along with your stretching exercises to reduce stress and tension.

If neck pain is making it difficult for you to move and enjoy your activities, don’t call Igor, call Dr. Jennifer Molner at (303) 805-5156. Cherry Creek Physical Therapy and Castle Pines Physical Therapy can help you to stop feeling so stiff and get you back to feeling alive. Visit our offices in Cherry Creek or Castle Pines, CO today.