There are two types of neck pain that is very common to physical therapy patients. One is acute neck pain. This can occur after a sudden force like whiplash or from straining one’s neck due to sleeping in an awkward position.
Minor injuries attributed to acute neck pain normally heal with time. Non-surgical care such as application of heat or ice packs, chiropractic manipulation and physical therapy can help in this condition.
The second type is the chronic neck pain. It can be caused by many medical conditions. Symptoms of chronic neck pain include the following:
- The pain in the neck goes down to the arm and sometimes into hands and the fingers
- The neck pain is related to certain positions and activities
- Along with the pain in the arm, there is also lack of coordination in the legs and arms and intermittent and shooting pains can be felt
- Pain that is often worse during morning and at end of day
Chronic neck pain can be caused by a more serious medical problem. It is always best to seek medical care especially if the pain is associated with muscular weakness and high grade fever.
For acute neck pain, there are some self-care tips that can be done easily at home.
Applying ice pack to the neck for periods of 15 minutes can help relieve discomfort. This can be done three times a day or as often as needed.
Applying heat in the form of a hot shower or a hot bath can be a big help in relaxing those strained neck muscles.
Stretching the neck muscles by turning the neck slowly up and down and side to side and allow the muscles to relax as well.
Massaging and rubbing the sore neck muscles can also help with acute neck pain. It can help relieve the muscle spasms.
Maintaining good posture at all times is the best practice. This can prevent straining the muscles that can lead to neck pain.
There are common exercises that are useful for neck pain treatment. A typical exercise plan can consist of strengthening and stretching exercises and aerobic conditioning.
Neck stretches can improve the range of motion and the elasticity of the affected area. It relieves the stiffness that is often the cause of the pain. Stretching should be done on a daily basis and several times a day as needed.
Acute neck pain is avoidable. Observing good posture at all times are minimizing activities that cause strain to the neck, are just two examples of how this can be avoided.