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Reading in bed or sleeping on an old pillow?


By: Angie Austin, LPTA

Your neck is a vital yet vulnerable part of your body due to its ability to move in all directions. That’s all while holding the weight of your head, which is an average of 10 pounds. While neck pain or pain in the cervical spine is not as common as say lower back pain, located int eh lumbar spine, millions of people will experience neck pain or problems st some point in their lives. While the majority of everyday neck pain and stiffness will alleviate over time without surgery, it is important to understand neck pain and what causes it.

Causes of Neck Pain:

  • Muscle Strains: This is the most common source of neck pain, injuries related to posture or
    positioning of the head/neck. Poor posture with daily work activities including computer and
    phone use can often trigger strains. Sleep positions including reading in bed or poor pillow
    choice or grinding teeth can also contribute. Poor lifting mechanics or overuse in the gym can
    also result in a strain injury.
  • Worn out joints/degeneration: All joints in your body are susceptible to wear and tear also
    know as osteoarthritis. When joint surfaces/cartilage wears away one is susceptible to pain,
    decreased mobility and often increased joint sounds.
  • Injuries: Such as whiplash from an auto accident can contribute to neck pain.
  • Nerve Compression/disc: Bulging or herniated discs refer to an injury of the soft tissue/
    cushion found between each vertebrae this can happen in both the lumber and cervical spines.
    Disc injuries generally occur over time as general age related wear and tear.
    If you have associated numbness/tingling or loss of strength in your arms/hands you should
    seek the help of a physician right away.

What can I do for my neck pain or problems:
– Gentle massage to the strained or spasming muscles.
– Apply ice or heat to the areas. Take a nice warm shower or bath.

Ot’s important to remember though that these aforementioned tips will not address the cause of your neck pain, but rather can help alleviate it for a while.

Physical therapy is a very effective and conservative treatment method to get rid of neck pain or problems for good. We will assess the muscles in your neck and upper back, look at your posture and determine the root cause of your pain. We can recommend targeting strengthening and stretching to do and also apply hands-on, manual therapy to relieve muscle tightness for good. If you have neck pain lasting longer than a few days or it has gotten worse despite your best efforts its a good idea to have it evaluated by a physical therapist. Physical therapist here at LSTC are ready to diagnose, treat and help you prevent future or better manage current neck issues.

CLICK HERE for more on how physical therapy can help you.

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