Did you know non-surgical treatment is an effective therapy for acute and chronic neck pain? If you suffer from problematic neck pain, often, the right exercises and physiotherapy may be all you need to help recondition the neck muscles while also improving mobility, strength, posture, and function. Need further convincing? Take a look at these physiotherapist inspired tips.
1. Check in with Your Muscles
You don’t have to be an athlete to loosen up the neck muscles. There are many stretches and conditioning exercises you can perform while watching your kids sports from the sidelines. Head rotations, for example, are great for stretching the upper trapezius muscle – you know that area between the shoulder blades that turns into a pile of knots after a hard day’s work. To ease this area simply rotate the head side to side. You can even place your hand on the side of your head to add extra tension.Pushups are also great for strengthening the back and chest muscles which support your neck all day long. You can do them on your knees, or use a bench, so you don’t have to go down to the floor. Finally, grab a set of light weights, a can of beans, or just your two hands and raise your arms over your shoulder to strengthen the shoulder joints. While you are there, add in some shoulder shrugs, front raises, reverse flies, curls, and bent over rows.
2. Massage anyone?
If you ever needed a reason to schedule a massage, this is it. Manual therapy such as myofascial release is a great method for relieving neck pain. A qualified therapist can gently massage affected tissue and get not only your neck but the entire spine back feeling healthy again. Add to that some stretching, deep breathing, and tightness will be a thing of the past.
Not sure how often you should receive manual therapy? A research study in the Annals of Family Medicine looked at more than 200 individuals with chronic, and non-specific neck pain found multiple 60-minute sessions more effective than shorter sessions. Another study published in The Spine Journal suggests “Booster doses” (once a week for 12 weeks after treatment onset) were ideal for relieving neck dysfunction and pain.
3. Get Yourself into Alignment.
Chiropractic treatment is an evidence-based practice in which doctors can often spot a problem before it beckons. In addition to acute neck pain, research shows manipulation and mobilization are also effective for migraines, dizziness, and achy joint conditions. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reports chiropractic care and exercises are better at easing neck pain than taking narcotics.
4. Find your Qi (Chi)
Acupuncture utilizes small, painless needles to get your energy flowing in good harmony. Like massage, acupuncture can be a pleasant experience for many which are as it is believed to release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. According to a 2012 study of 18,000 patients in the Archives of Internal Medicine, acupuncture is an effective treatment for osteoarthritis, migraines and chronic back, neck and shoulder pain.
5. Check in with your Physiotherapist or Physician
Not all neck pain behaves alike which is why seeing a physiotherapist or physician is often the right thing to do. When your pain is ongoing or prevents you from doing your normal activities, a clinician can help you get to the bottom of your condition. They might suggest a pain reliever while also applying heat or cold therapies, TENS or laser treatment, education, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychological supportive care.
Talk with your therapist to see about the right solution for you. If you have questions, give us a call and book an appointment with a local physiotherapist.