Physical therapy for neck pain focuses on two things, Improving strength and flexibility. Active exercise is the best way to do this. Working the surrounding muscles will gradually expedite healing. The type and amount of activity, though, may vary depending on the neck pain level.
Types of Physical Activity
The most common types of active physical therapy are:
- Neck stretches and exercises. These stretches help to train the muscles attached to the cervical spine. The chin tuck is the most common. This involves looking forward. Then, gently pull the chin straight back.
- Core and back strengthening. Back and core muscles benefit from physical therapy too. These muscles help support the neck and spine. Neck function and posture can improve as a result.
- Aerobic activity. This elevates blood flow and breathing. Your heart and lungs are working hard. Low impact aerobic activity is best to avoid jostling the spine. Cycling, swimming, and brisk walking are all ideal.
- Aquatic exercise. Exercise can also be done in the pool. The water supports your weight, therefore, relieving pressure from the spine. And, your muscles get a great workout this way! This is recommended when shoulder or back pain is present
These activities can be combined or used individually. In fact, you can space them out across the treatment plan. Your activity choice will depend on current physical therapy goals.
Potential Risks for Physical Therapy for Neck Pain
Under guidance, active physical therapy is generally safe. A licensed physical therapist or medical professional can help you. There are still some potential risks you should know.
Pain and stiffness often worsen. Muscles can get sore after new exercises too. A new physical therapy program should start you off slowly, gradually increasing your workouts. Then, neck pain and stiffness will gradually subside. However, using an improper technique can worsen things. In fact, you may injure or overload joints. Be sure to take care of all exercise. And follow directions carefully.
Continuing treatment is often strenuous. In fact, many quit physical therapy too soon, but don’t! It is easy to get discouraged. However, you should push through for your recovery. This means the benefits that appear after a few months are not reached. Set up a regular schedule in advance. Especially if committing to time is a challenge for you. You can also learn more at-home exercises. This is good for those who find it hard to make it to their appointments with ease.
An undetected condition may get worse. Physical therapy cannot work if the cause is not treated. Therefore, delaying overall healing and treatment.
Performing exercise should not be painful. You should not be unusually uncomfortable. Discontinue all activity that increases pain. You can try it again later after further healing. Or when your doctor advises.
After physical Therapy for Neck Pain Ends
Most programs involve at-home maintenance. Once therapy is over, there is follow up training. This eliminates the risk of future neck pain. Home exercises and lifestyle changes will keep your posture correct. And keep you free from neck pain.