Petersen Physical Therapy

Neck Pain

There’s a reason that “pain in the neck” is an expression. Because we all know how annoying it is to wake up on the wrong side of the bed with a “stiff” neck for the day.

If you have basic neck stiffness, here’s a couple things you could try first:

Discontinue activity such as sports for a few days. During this time, try using heat or ice for 15-20 minutes a few times a day. OTC pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be helpful, but use them in moderation and follow all instructions. Massage the area gently; stop if it causes pain. Additionally, take an honest look at the sustained postures you find yourself in each day. Postural influences on one’s neck pain are common.

What about when your neck pain is beyond just normal stiffness that can be solved by ice, stretching, and rest? This is exactly the situation many of our patients find themselves in.

Some Rules of Thumb for Neck Problems

Reasons to call us:

  • Your neck has been painful for more than 10 days.
  • You have any existing injuries in the surrounding area.
  • You have had an incident that tweaked your neck.
  • You have pain radiating down your arm or into your hand.
  • You have severe or frequent headaches.
  • You develop weakness and start dropping household items.

If you have any of these signs or symptoms, please call to speak with a physical therapist.

There are a few common causes of neck pain, including strains and sprains of the supportive tissue in and around the neck. These conditions can be caused by simple behavioral issues such as poor posture, repetitive motions, or holding the head in unusual positions for extended periods of time. Other times, it is caused by an event, such as whiplash, a fall/collision, or a sports injury.

It’s important to allow a professional to provide direction during the recovery process, because if the issue is related to posture and behavior, our therapist can provide correctional stretches/strengthening exercises. However, if there is a more severe underlying issue, this will also be uncovered.

Call us if you have any concerns about your own level of pain or to ask any questions. We will be happy to discuss treatment options and schedule an evaluation if necessary.