Stress, poor posture, and injury can all lead to chronic neck pain. At Praxis Physical Therapy in Vernon Hills, Illinois, the team of orthopedic physical therapy specialists offers advanced treatments to relieve neck pain and improve the range of motion in your neck. To learn more about neck pain, call Praxis Physical Therapy or schedule an appointment online today.
The neck, or cervical spine, contains seven vertebrae, intervertebral discs, and several muscles, tendons, and ligaments. As the primary support system for your head, the neck is susceptible to injury and wear-and-tear. Damage to the neck not only causes pain, but it can also impair your head’s ability to rotate comfortably.
Many degenerative conditions and injuries can cause chronic neck pain, such as:
Arthritis causes chronic joint inflammation. The most common type, osteoarthritis, develops when the cartilage that protects your joints degrades. That can cause friction between the small bones in your neck, leading to swelling, pain, and stiffness.
If you sit hunched at a desk all day, read frequently, or clench your jaw, the muscles in your neck can strain. Pain, stiffness, and poor range of motion are common signs of muscle strains in the neck.
In between each vertebra in the neck is a disc that acts as a shock absorber. These discs contain a hard protective outer layer with a soft center. Cracks in the outer layer of the disc may cause the center to push through and irritate surrounding nerves.
The most common neck injury is whiplash, a common car accident consequence. Whiplash causes your head to twist suddenly, severely straining the soft tissues in your neck.
With the level of support and motion the neck provides, damage to any of its elements can lead to symptoms such as:
Neck pain often extends to the shoulders and up through the base of the skull. Stress, poor sleep quality, and other lifestyle factors can aggravate neck pain.
Diagnosing neck pain is a multi-step process that starts with a physical assessment and review of your medical history. Imaging tests, such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computer tomography (CT) scans, can also help uncover the underlying cause of neck pain.
The neck pain treatment your physical therapist recommends depends on the severity and precise location of your pain. Heat and ice therapy and targeted stretches can help relieve discomfort while improving your posture helps reduce strain. Massage therapy is another important neck pain treatment that can help alleviate tension in the soft tissues of the neck.
To learn more about neck pain, call Praxis Physical Therapy or schedule an appointment online today.