The neck is the spinal structure that supports the head. It is the least protected structure compared to the rest of the spine. Due to its anatomical structure, the neck is highly vulnerable to injury and from conditions that produce pain and restriction of motion. Physiotherapy is a therapeutic management designed to restore the neck’s flexibility and maintain its normal range of motion. It comprises treatment options that are designed for the patient’s specific condition.
Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain is a common medical condition. It may be due to biomechanical causes and injury arising from traumatic accidents or a standing medical condition. Common causes of neck pain may be due to muscle strain, disc herniation or degeneration, and worn-out cervical joints. A whiplash injury is another common neck injury that occurs due to a mobile accident with resulting extreme pain and injury to the neck.
Physiotherapy provides several benefits in relieving neck pain. It can help maintain the strength of the neck muscles when under threat to be weakened by certain conditions such as spasm and pain. It also helps improve the flexibility of the neck muscles through the help of therapeutic neck exercises. Moreover, it adapts other forms of treatment such as manipulation, treatment modalities and massage that help improve the circulation and range of motion of the neck, which are vital to help relieve neck pain.
Types of Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy involves a variety of therapeutic approaches in managing neck pain. Common among the treatment options for neck physiotherapy are massage, manipulation, application of modalities such as hot or cold compresses, electrical stimulation and neck exercises. The aims of these types of therapeutic approaches to neck pain are to relieve inflammation, relax the cervical muscles, relieve neck pain, reduce compression to the cervical discs, strengthen the neck muscles and promote its muscular tensile strength, flexibility and mobility.
Physical Therapy Exercises
Because neck pain most frequently occurs due to muscular strain and injury, strengthening the neck muscles is vital in order to withstand cervical immobility and stiffness in the presence of neck pain. Stretching exercises improve the flexibility of the neck, which may become immobilized by pain. Basic range-of-motion exercises such as flexion, extension, side bending and rotation of the neck are done in gradual ranges that are tolerable to the patient. Neck exercises are integral in maintaining range of motion and warding off stiffness and pain.
While the main goal of physiotherapy treatment is to help restore the normal function of the neck, there are still potential risks. It is important to be aware of any symptoms such as tingling or a numbing sensation during therapy as it may indicate neurological involvement such as nerve compression. Modalities such as electrical stimulation, traction, and hot and cold packs must also be used appropriately.
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