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What to Expect from Physiotherapy for Neck Pain

Neck pain is a serious problem that can limit your ability to perform normal, everyday tasks. It can cause you to lose range of motion in your neck, and it may also be a source of pain in your shoulder, arm, or hand.

Anatomy of the Neck

The neck, or cervical spine, is comprised of 7 bones called vertebrae, which are stacked on top of one another. Between each bone is a spongy material called the intervertebral disc. Each vertebra has two joints towards the back that connect with the joints of the vertebrae below it.

The bones of your neck protect your spinal cord and allow for normal motion to occur. The neck is very flexible, allowing for forward, backward and side bending, as well as rotation. This helps enable you to look and move in many directions.

Where Is the Pain Felt?

The pain that comes from your neck may be felt in different locations, which can make your condition confusing and difficult to treat. Pain may also be felt directly in your neck, or just on one side of the neck. Pain from your neck can also often be felt in your shoulder blade, and other types of shoulder pain could also be coming from your neck.

If a nerve in your neck is irritated or pinched, you may feel pain traveling down your arm and into your hand. Weakness, numbness or tingling may sometimes be felt in your arm and hand as well. Be sure to discuss all of your symptoms with your doctor or physiotherapist so that he or she may understand your condition and find the best treatment options for you.

What to Do First

If you start having neck pain, don't panic. Oftentimes neck pain gets better in just a few days, and in many cases, the pain subsides greatly in four to six weeks. When pain strikes, gentle neck exercises may be beneficial, and heat or ice can also help control symptoms. If symptoms persist, visit your doctor to see if a prescription medication will help your condition. Physiotherapy may also be prescribed.

What to Expect From Physiotherapy for Neck Pain?

Your first appointment with a physiotherapist will be an initial evaluation in which the therapist will gather information about you and the nature of your problem. He or she will then perform an examination, during which the following are commonly measured:

Range of Motion (ROM), which refers to how far your neck moves in various directions. Your physiotherapist may use a goniometer to measure your ROM. They will also look at the quality of your motion.

Strength. If you're feeling arm pain that's originating in your neck, you may be experiencing weakness in specific muscle groups in your arm. Your physiotherapist may measure your strength to determine the nature of this weakness.

Tenderness to Palpation. Palpation is when a physiotherapist touches the body with his or her hands to determine if the muscles are tight or sore. Your physiotherapist may also push on your spine to measure spinal mobility. Caution should be used in palpation since many studies indicate that the ability to accurately identify problem areas in the spine by palpation is poor.

Posture. Your physiotherapist may analyze your posture to determine if this could be a cause of your neck pain. They will measure your resting posture and then have you sit with correct posture to determine if postural correction can also help improve your symptoms.

Functional Mobility. If you have neck pain, your physiotherapist may ask you about things that you're unable to do as a result of your pain. They will also ask you to perform certain tasks to assess your overall functional mobility.

After your physiotherapist gathers the necessary measurements and information about your condition, he or she will work with you to develop a plan of action to help with your neck pain.

Eliminate the pain and return to normal activity and function quickly and safely by our professional physiotherapist at The Bali Physio.


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