Physical Therapy for Neck Pain

Neck pain can be related to multiple factors such as occupational, psychological, and traumatic influences. Occupations that are considered high risk for neck include computer data processors, mechanics, typists, musicians, doctors, dentists, hygenists and cooks. These individuals have to maintain static neck and body postures for prolonged periods of time. Psychological factors include work satisfaction, family, health and economic stressors. Traumatic factors include whiplash, falls, recreational injuries and work-related injuries. Neck pain can be localized and can be referred down the back or out to the upper extremities and head. Neck pain can range from being occasional with nonlimiting symptoms to sharp annoying debilitating symptoms to chronic pain and annoying stiffness. 15% to 20% of the general population complain of neck related symptoms in the 12 month period time. Common diagnoses include tension neck syndrome, cervical spondylosis, cervical disc disorders and other disorders of the cervical spine. Neck pain and low back pain are often interrelated.

Treatment of the neck should have a strong emphasis figuring out the cause of the symptom and reducing the perpetuating factors that continue the symptom. Kulp Physical Therapy and Massage will thoroughly evaluate your musculoskeletal system with joint, muscle, nerve and postural measurements. The physical therapist will then go about treating each specific structure with refined technique. Muscles and joints are at the heart of most cervical symptoms. Some of the muscles with trigger points that cause cervical symptoms include the upper trapezius, middle trapezius, levator scapulae, sternocleidomastoid, anterior and middle scalene, semispinalis and splenius cervicis and capitis, multifidi and the obliquus capitis inferior. These muscles will limit the ability to turn and look up down or sideways. They will give localized or radiating pain in the neck, head, shoulders or into the mid-back. Joint disorders will limit the flexibility of the spine and can cause symptoms localized at the neck, referred pain in the upper extremities through impingement of the nerves or referred pain in the upper back. Kulp Physical Therapy and Massage utilizes low grade Maitland joint mobilizations which are soft and are within the control of the patient as well as joint manipulations to unlock the stuck joint. Kulp Physical Therapy and Massage also utilizes neuro-dynamic stretching in an effort to improve mechanical sliding of the nerve. The nerve can cause its own symptom, both localized to the neck and into the upper extremity when it is irritated. One's posture is a primary concern when dealing with a neck. Most people will notice their forward head posture, rounded shoulders and fatigue sitting and standing positions. It is of utmost importance for the individual to maintain a balanced and energy efficient posture when working, computing, reading, eating, sleeping, etc.


Splenius Cervicis


Sternocleidomastoid


Upper, Middle and Lower Trapezius


Levator Scapulae