Would you be surprised to learn that up to 50% of people experience neck pain every year? Probably not if you are experiencing neck pain yourself. However, you are more likely wondering about more immediate things.
You are likely wondering what is causing your neck pain and even wondering if the other symptoms you are feeling are being caused by the same thing. It’s even more likely that you are wondering how you can ease your pain.
Fortunately, physical therapists can partner with you to answer all your questions about neck pain, and they can work with you to treat it the other symptoms you are feeling to get at the root cause.
Causes of neck pain
Like other types of pain, neck pain can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Treating either type of neck pain starts with figuring out what exactly is causing the pain.
The most common cause of acute and chronic neck pain is neck muscle strains. This injury can happen when you move your neck suddenly or as a result of repetitive movements, which are often the source of short-term neck pain. However, neck muscle strains can also become an issue that leads to chronic pain. When this happens, it’s typically the result of sitting hunched over a computer or smartphone for hours at a time day after day.
Some other issues that can trigger acute or chronic neck pain include:
- Bone spurs.
- Pinched nerves.
There are also neck problems that should cause you to seek medical help right away, such as:
- Severe pain that does not respond to at-home treatment.
- Traumatic injuries from car accidents, diving accidents or falls.
Symptoms you may experience along with neck pain
There are several common symptoms that neck problems can lead to besides pain, including:
- Worsening of pain when holding your head in one place for long periods.
- Muscle tightness and spasming.
- Difficulty turning and tilting your head.
- Headaches that may become chronic if neck pain is chronic.
- Numbness or tingling that runs down through your shoulders or arms.
Treatments for neck pain
In many cases, neck pain and the symptoms associated with it may respond to a few days of rest. However, you should consider seeking help from a physical therapist if your symptoms do not improve with at-home care or you are still experiencing them several weeks after they began.
Seeking physical therapy for your neck pain allows you to get a personalized treatment plan from a knowledgeable physical therapist. A few treatments your plan may include are:
- Manual therapy.
- Targeted stretching exercises.
- Ergonomics education.
- Customized strengthening exercise routines.
- Dry needling.
Help for your neck pain may be closer than you think. Find a location near you today to schedule an appointment or an initial free screening and start treating your neck pain.