Neck pain is among the most typical kinds of pain and one of the most common injuries that people experience. According to the Arthritis Foundation, almost 70 percent of individuals will experience neck discomfort in their lifetime.
Whether you’re an office worker that puts in long hours stooped over a work desk or an athlete that regularly has tense and stretched neck muscles from sports injuries, anyone can be vulnerable to developing neck discomfort, and the limited range of motion that comes with it, every so often.
However, with the help of a physiotherapist, you can have your neck discomfort under control at last. With a lot of different types of physical rehabilitation treatments for neck discomfort available, it is very important to understand which therapies are perfect for your particular condition.
Below we’ve laid out five common strategies to help you get the most out of a physiotherapy appointment.
To Start With, Ask Questions
Prior to you arriving for your therapy session, there are a couple of questions you ought to ask your physiotherapist to help you get the most out of your session. Ask about the treatment plan you’ll be receiving, as well as regarding the length of time that you’ll be expected to continue with the therapies.
In addition, make certain to ask about any type of negative effects that can happen from the different therapies, as well as what to do if there are any kind of complications.
By asking these questions in advance, you can steer clear of any type of misconceptions or shocks in the future as well as guarantee that you’re being given the best therapy available for your needs.
It’s also a good idea to find out what to expect during your treatment. If you’re getting the soft tissues mobilized, for instance, you should understand the amount of stress that your physiotherapist is likely to utilize.
Normally speaking, you ought to feel some pressure and even a bit of discomfort during your treatment, but it shouldn’t be excruciatingly agonizing. Your therapist will typically start with the outer layers of tissues and then work progressively deeper as the tissues warm up.
Stretching Exercises With a Physiotherapist
There are many different types of physiotherapy treatments for neck pain, and among the most successful is stretch exercises. This sort of physiotherapy therapy really helps to strengthen your muscle mass while also enhancing your flexibility and also general stance.
While it’s not a therapy that can be done just once, stretching workouts are designed to be a lasting solution to your neck pain. You can perform these workouts in your home, or your physiotherapist can suggest certain workouts that you can do while you’re at your job or on the go.
If you’re dealing with neck discomfort because of poor posture, stretching exercises can really help correct your posture while also enhancing your overall health and wellness.
By carrying out these exercises routinely, you can help stay clear of future spells of neck discomfort and also enhance your quality of living.
Stretches for the most part need to be held for at least 30 seconds in order to allow time for the connective tissues to unwind and relax.
Manual Therapy and Mobilization
If your neck pain is related to stiff neck joints then manual therapy and joint mobilization can be immensely helpful.
The mechanisms of how this can help relieve neck pain are not fully known however part of the answer is that manual therapy under skilled hands can help to settle the nervous system.
When we’re injured the nervous system can be under a bit of a red alert and this can increase the pain response – calming the nervous system can lead to profound relief which then allows for more movement and the therapeutic process can begin.
Mobilizing the joints is simply a way of saying that we use the hands to move stiff joints. This movement pushes fluids around inside the neck joints (or any other synovial joint in the body for that matter).
Since the joints do not have much blood supply, they cartilage cells get their nutrition from this fluid movement and so it is a gentle way of getting nutrients into the pores of the cartilage cells.
A joint manipulation, often associated with a crack or click in the joint is another matter altogether and one which we won’t get into on this particular blog post.
At Trimetrics we do have a few physiotherapists who are qualified to provide this type of treatment however let us suffice to say that there are potential risks associated with joint manipulations of the neck that should be discussed before using this type of manual therapy.
As far as the evidence base is concerned regarding neck pain, strength exercises are probably at the top of the list. A stronger neck is a more resilient neck. A stronger neck is also more resistant to injury or re-injury.
You can use gravity as a resistance as well as weights or bands. One of the gravity based methods is to lay on your back then tuck your chin and lift your head (so long as there’s not an increase in neck pain).
The weight of your head provides resistance and you will strengthen the deep neck flexors of the neck and weakness of this region is highly correlated with neck pain. Repeat until fatigue sets in or your form starts to go. If you’re getting any pain, please stop and then try another set after 1-2 minutes of rest.
We can use a similar approach to target other regions of the neck.
Earlier we mentioned prolonged postures at the desk or computer. This leads to both a forward head position and also a rounded shoulders posture, both of which contribute to neck pain. A second type of strengthening exercise to treat neck pain is to perform so called M’s, T’s and Y’s which are related to an exercise called reverse flyes.
In these exercises one typically uses resistance bands to pull the arms backwards (lower arm position makes a bit of the letter M; arms out to the side makes the letter T, and arms a bit higher makes the letter Y). Once again, no increased pain should be noted and you can perform 2-3 sets to fatigue as a nice starting point for postural strength and conditioning.
The needle can be a really useful tool to treat tight muscles. IMS as a treatment approach began with Dr. Chan Gunn here in Vancouver and has come to be known and utilized all over the world over the past 25-30 years. IMS stands for intramuscular stimulation.
In this, and with dry needling techniques, a thin acupuncture style needle is inserted into the tight muscle. If the needle stimulates the junction where the nerve meets the muscle then there will be a jump or muscle twitch.
This can be achy for the person receiving the needle but most come to embrace this sensation because the release and relaxation of the muscle follows.
Your Trimetrics therapist might also treat the region of the spine that innervates the muscle(s) you are treating in or around your neck. Since the spinal nerves originate in the spine, it makes sense that sometimes neck pain is related to irritation, inflammation or even arthritis of the underlying joint.
Neck pain can be devastating, but luckily there are many different kinds of physiotherapy treatments available that can provide long-lasting pain relief. By speaking with a physiotherapist and discussing your pain, they can suggest a treatment strategy that’s right for your symptoms.
Depending upon the kind of discomfort that you’re dealing with, your physiotherapist can suggest treatments such as stretching exercises, manual therapy and joint mobilization, strength exercises and IMS/dry needling.
There are many more techniques and educational interventions that your Trimetrics physiotherapist can use to help treat your neck pain. With the help of a great physiotherapist, you can ultimately put an end to your neck discomfort once and for all.
Give the North Vancouver experts at Trimetrics a call today and we can schedule eliminating your neck pain and getting back to your daily activities. Now booking new appointments!