Neck pain is a very common problem affecting 60-70% of the population at some point in their lives. These symptoms can vary from very sharp pain with restricted movement to dull, aching and burning in the surrounding shoulder and shoulder blade muscles. In some cases, symptoms may travel down the arm to the hand causing pain or numbness and tingling. In more severe cases significant weakness is noted in the arm or hand.
The neck is a very mobile structure allowing for movement in many directions. Because of this mobility, the neck can be vulnerable to injury and disorders that produce pain and restrict motion. The cause of neck pain can occur from poor computer posture, falls, whiplash or often for unknown reasons. Common neck problems can consist of facet syndromes, herniated discs, osteoarthritis as well as muscular pain and tension.
For many people, neck pain is a temporary condition that disappears within several days, but for others underlying stiffness and weakness can predispose the neck to further injury and prolong the painful situation.
Manual therapy interventions are found to be very beneficial in treatment of the cervical spine. Techniques of joint mobilization, deep tissue mobilization and muscular retraining are proven to be significantly effective treatments. Manual and mechanical traction is found to be effective in cases of nerve compression.
An individualized exercise program is developed for each patient’s specific problem often focusing on the deep neck muscles and the postural muscles of the shoulders and shoulder blades.
Education on proper techniques and postures for work, athletic and daily activity is an essential component of treatment.