Board Certified, New York City Based, Osteopath Specializing in Spine, Pain and Sports Medicine
Neck Pain Overview
Any pain originating or manifesting in the region of the body below the head and above the start of the chest and back can be considered neck pain. Neck pain is a common issue as it can easily be strained from poor work ergonomics or posture. This can be from leaning over your computer or hunching over.
What are the Common Causes of Chronic Neck Pain?
Chronic neck pain can be caused by a herniated disc, inflamed facet joint, whiplash injury from an automobile accident, a slip and fall, arthritis, stress, chronic fatigue, or fibromyalgia, just to name a few. Pain can emanate from the muscles, tendons, ligaments, intervertebral disc, inflamed nerves, and/or skeletal structure of the spine. Individuals who have poor posture can have extremely tight neck muscles as the muscle is constantly activated to keep the head from dropping. Over time, the muscles can go into spasm or start to cramp. When the muscles remain in this state for long periods of time, it can dramatically increase a person’s risk of neck injury, become abnormally tender, and restrict movement.
Can Stress Increase Neck and Shoulder Pain?
Yes. Increased stress cause muscles to tighten and go into spasm. The longer the muscles in the neck, or any other area of the body, remain under stress, the tighter they can become. This tightness may compress vessels or nerves traveling to the head or shoulders which may inflame and irritate tissue resulting in headache pain and trigger points. Osteopathic treatments, Physical therapy, and Trigger point treatments can help reduce pressure and inflammation, release the tightness, restore blood flow and removing compressive forces. As the compressive forces are reduced, blood begins to circulate back into the area, the inflammation will reduce, and nerve function can normalize. If pain is persistent and severe other measures may be considered such as cervical facet blocks or epidural steroid injections. Releasing stress through exercise, meditation, or other methods can enable faster healing time. Proper blood flow and exercises relieve the pain and inflammation that can have such a devastating impact on a person’s quality of life.
Neck Strain Symptoms
The end result of a neck injury is inflammation, pain, limited range of motion, and reduced mobility. Pain with movement or activities with of your neck or back usually means it comes from the joint itself.
Neck Strain Risk Factors
Neck pain can be caused by many different factors. Since the neck is flexible and supports your head, uneven loading and posture can cause pain to emanate from the nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments, intervertebral disc, and/or skeletal structure of the spine. Some causes of neck pain are:
- Muscle strains
- Worn joints
- Nerve compression
Can Physical Therapy Relieve Neck Pain?
Yes. Physical therapy is an effective way to help relieve and manage chronic neck pain. While it is important to know what is causing the pain, relieving the pain will help to improve a person’s quality of life. Physical therapy can help the patient regain any strength that was lost, as well as help to improve both mobility and range of motion. Once the cause has been determined, the type of treatment used to correct the problem will take time. Using physical therapy during the recovery period will encourage blood flow to the area, as well as keep the tissues flexible and prevent inflammation from infiltrating the area and increasing the risk of pain and discomfort. Often physical therapy can be combined with other treatments such as trigger point injections and osteopathic manipulative therapy to optimize outcome
What If I Have Neck Pain?
If neck issues are causing pain and discomfort, use proper biomechanics in your day to day activities, especially when working out. Specific exercises and movements may be needed to get the body in proper alignment for use. If you have neck pain, see a neck pain specialist that knows all about the spine and neck. Dr. Yasha Magyar is a double board certified. He’s Board Certified in physical medicine, rehabilitation and Board Certified in Pain Medicine. Don’t hesitate to contact Network Spine to help with your neck pain issues.