Different Causes of Neck Pain and Physical Therapy Treatments For Neck Pain Relief

Different Causes of Neck Pain and Physical Therapy Treatments for Neck Pain Relief

Neck pain can be exhausting as it reduces the ability to perform everyday activities with ease. It is one of the most common conditions and is reported as the fourth leading cause of disability globally.

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), nearly one-third of the population experiences neck pain each year.

Sometimes the pain radiates to the shoulder, arms, and back, thus leading to other illnesses. Several conditions can cause neck pain, but physical therapists in Pocatello, ID, can effectively promote neck pain relief regardless of the reasons.

What Causes Neck Pain

The human neck comprises seven bones called vertebrae that connect the head with the torso and are responsible for providing the mobility and movements of the head. Each bone has a soft material called the intervertebral disc. The neck offers flexibility and allows for forwarding, backward, side bending, and rotation.

From bad posture to accident injuries, several causes lead to neck pain. We have listed some of the causes of neck pain below.

1) Nerve Compression

Nerve compression or pinched nerve is the result of pressure due to repetitive motions on the cervical nerve. It causes pain that radiates from the neck into the shoulder and arm, leading to cervical radiculopathy.

Or, the pain radiates into the leg and foot and leads to lumbar radiculopathy or sciatica nerve pain. Physical therapists can efficiently promote sciatica pain relief through evidence-based physical therapy methods.

2) Arthritis

Osteoarthritis of the neck is referred to as cervical spondylosis. Due to aging, the spine discs become weak, and the soft connective tissues begin to decrease. This leads to degeneration of the disc and wear and tear of the cartilage. As the cartilage wears away, new bones grow to support the vertebrae. This bone overgrowth causes bone spurs that compress nerve roots in the neck.

Other types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis can also affect the cervical spine.

3) Whiplash

Whiplash is the sudden backward and forward movement of the neck when an individual meets with a car accident, leading to a neck injury. This rapid, unexpected neck movement affects the muscles and ligaments, causing them to stiff and contract.

4) Other causes leading to neck pain include bad posture, muscle strain, and tumors.

Symptoms of Neck Pain

The following are the symptoms of neck pain.


        Stiffness in the neck muscle

        Pain that radiates to the arm

        Lack of mobility in the neck

        Weakness in the arms, hands, and shoulder

        Numbness and tingling in the arms

Physical Therapy for Neck Pain

Doctors may advise patients suffering from neck pain to consult a physical therapist to relieve neck pain and regain proper mobility. Physical therapy plays a vital role in promoting neck pain relief regardless of the causes.

1) Hot/Cold Therapy

Heat therapy increases the temperature of soft tissues in the affected areas. This leads to increased blood circulation and supplies adequate oxygen and nutrients to the area experiencing pain. It also removes the metabolic waste created by muscle spasms and promotes healing.

Cold therapy decreases the soft tissue temperature and slows down blood circulation. It reduces inflammation and swelling that cause pain. It temporarily reduces nerve activity, thereby promoting neck pain relief.

2) Deep Tissue Massage

It is one of the massage techniques where the physical therapists use their elbow, forearm, and fingers to apply pressure to the targeted area. They address the connective tissue surrounding muscles through this massage.

This method is used for chronic pain and contracted areas such as a stiff neck. Direct pressure and friction can relieve tension in the soft tissues. It improves mobility and relieves neck pain.

3) Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

It is a form of electrical stimulation method. The TENS unit is made of a battery-powered device. This unit transfers electrical impulses through the electrodes that are attached to the patient’s body.

These electric impulses stimulate the nerve tissues to block the transmission of pain signals between the brain and spinal cord, thus changing the sense of pain.

It also reduces muscle spasms and increases the number of endorphins, the human body’s natural painkillers.

4) Traction

Physical therapists perform traction as a hands-on method by stretching and mobilizing the spine. This process provides some space to the irritated nerves, thus decreasing pain and improving mobility. Patients can manually carry out traction at their homes by using a mechanical traction device.

5) Ultrasound Therapy

Therapeutic ultrasound is a deep heating technique that helps in treating connective tissues. In this method, physical therapists apply sound waves against the skin safely. These sound waves create vibration in the tissues, increase heat and friction in the affected area, and begin the healing process. Ultrasound therapy reduces muscle spasms, swelling, stiffness and promotes neck pain relief.

Final Thoughts

Physical therapy methods combined with proper physical activities is an effective treatment to promote neck pain relief and improve the quality of patients’ life. It prevents the use of medications and even surgery. Physical therapists also educate the patients to correct their posture, which is also an important cause of neck pain.

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