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Physiotherapy treatment for neck pain – Your guide

If you’re suffering from persistent neck pain, you considering physiotherapy treatment as an option. Neck pain is alleviated and mobility is restored through physiotherapy. Neck pain arises from problems with the cervical vertebrae, cervical discs, nerves, muscles, or soft tissues in the neck region. Common causes include:

  • Poor posture like hunching over phones and computers
  • Muscle strains and sprains from overuse or accidents
  • Herniated discs putting pressure on cervical nerves 
  • Degenerative disc disease and arthritis in the cervical facets
  • Pinched nerves in the neck vertebrae (cervical radiculopathy)

Symptoms range from mild achiness to debilitating pain, headaches, numbness in the arms, and reduced mobility. While neck pain often resolves with rest, chronic issues require professional treatment.

Physiotherapy evaluation

customized physiotherapy treatment in Oakville will begin by thoroughly assessing your neck to determine the exact cause and nature of your pain. They will:

  • Have you described your symptoms and medical history in detail
  • Evaluate your posture and neck mobility through a range of motion tests
  • Palpate the neck to pinpoint tender areas and muscle tightness
  • Test the strength and neurological function of your neck and arms
  • Review imaging like x-rays or MRIs you’ve had done
  • Assess your workplace ergonomics if the pain is work-related

Physiotherapists use the evaluation to design a treatment approach targeted at the mechanics of neck pain.

Manual Therapy Techniques Used

Hands-on manual therapy makes up a core part of most neck pain physiotherapy treatments. Common techniques include:

  • Joint mobilization: Gentle movements targeting restricted vertebral segments
  • Soft tissue massage: Kneading and releasing tight neck muscles
  • Trigger point release: Applying pressure to deactivate painful muscle knots
  • Muscle energy techniques: Engaging your muscles against resistance to relax them 
  • Cervical traction: Gently pulling and lengthening the neck to relieve pinched areas
  • Neural mobilization: Freeing compressed nerves causing radicular symptoms 

Skilled manual therapy applied to the right areas provides quick relief from neck pain symptoms.

Targeted neck exercises

Physiotherapists prescribe specific exercise programs to address the underlying cause of your neck pain for longer-lasting relief:

  • Stretching: Targeting tight posterior neck muscles contributing to poor posture.
  • Strengthening: Building strength in weak cervical muscles for stability and symmetrical muscle balances.
  • Posture and ergonomic training: Correcting postural habits that strain the neck like forward head position.
  • Low-load endurance exercises: Improving muscular endurance to support the neck with minimal stress.

Adhering consistently to your prescribed exercises retrains the neck muscles for good.

Modalities to relieve neck pain

Your physiotherapist incorporates various treatment modalities along with manual therapy and exercises:

  • Heat/ice: Uses hot packs or ice to relieve acute pain and relax tight muscles.
  • TENS: Mild electrical stimulation interferes with pain signals.
  • Ultrasound: Soundwaves stimulate circulation and ease chronic tightness. 
  • Interferential current: Alternating currents disrupt pain messaging.
  • Laser therapy: Photons reduce inflammation and swelling.

These modalities prepare the neck tissues for mobilization techniques and exercises.