TYPES OF NECK PAIN
Muscle Strain / Muscle Spasm
Have you ever woken up with a “stiff neck” because you “must have slept funny”
A stiff neck is typically characterized by soreness and difficulty moving the neck, especially when trying to turn the head to the side. It may also be accompanied by a headache, neck pain, shoulder pain, and/or arm pain. In order to look sideways or over the shoulder, an individual may need to turn the entire body instead of the stiff neck.
This is usually from a muscle spasm or muscle strain of the levator scapula and upper trapezius. Levator scapulae is a long and slender muscle that anatomically belongs to the superficial layer of extrinsic muscles of the back. The trapezius is a broad, flat, superficial muscle extending from the cervical to thoracic region on the posterior aspect of the neck and trunk.
When these muscles became “tight”, you can feel like you have a “knot” in your neck. This is a very common neck injury. At Movement Physiotherapy we specialize in eliminating these “knots” and getting you back to moving pain-free!
We will treat this injury with a soft tissue massage from a doctor of physical therapy. We also utilize several manual therapy techniques including myofascial release and IASTM, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization. We then focus on the active treatment of educating the patient on the proper stretches and strengthening exercises needed to improve this injury!
Cervical stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces within your spine, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck. You may experience pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness. Symptoms can worsen over time.
Spinal stenosis is most commonly caused by wear-and-tear changes in the spine related to osteoarthritis. In severe cases of spinal stenosis, doctors may recommend surgery to create additional space for the spinal cord or nerves.
Spinal stenosis usually is a natural result of aging. Research has not yet shown us a way to prevent it. However, we do know that you can make choices that lessen the impact of spinal stenosis on your life and even slow its progression.
Regular exercise strengthens the muscles that support your back, keeps the spinal joints flexible, and helps you maintain a healthy body weight.
Using supportive chairs and mattresses and avoiding activities that can lead to injury—such as heavy, awkward, or repetitive lifting—can help protect your back.
Your physical therapist can help you develop a fitness program that takes into account your spinal stenosis. There are some exercises that are better than others for people with spinal stenosis, and your physical therapist can educate you about what exercises and activities you should avoid. All low back pain is different and unique to each individual.
Cervical Herniated Disc
Cervical disc herniation is a common cause of neck and upper body pain. Pain may feel dull or sharp in the neck, between the shoulder blades, and may radiate (travel) downward into the arms, hands, and fingers. Sensations of numbness and tingling are typical symptoms, and some patients report muscle spasms. Certain positions and movement can aggravate and intensify the pain.
Several factors increase the risk for disc herniation:
Lifestyle choices such as tobacco use, lack of regular exercise, and inadequate nutrition substantially contribute to poor disc health.
As the body ages, natural biochemical changes cause intervertebral discs to gradually dry out, affecting disc strength and resiliency.
Poor posture combined with the habitual use of incorrect body mechanics can place additional stress on the cervical spine.
Not all patients require neck surgery. Often, within 4 to 6 weeks most patients find nonsurgical treatments to relieve pain and symptoms. Be optimistic about your treatment plan and remember that less than 5% of back problems require surgery.
Questions about your pain? Schedule a Free Discovery Visit to talk with us about how we cna help you get back to doing what you love!
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