Physical Therapy for Neck Injuries

Neck pain is almost as common as back pain with two-thirds of the population experiencing it at some point in their lives.

Although felt in the neck, it is often caused by problems in the spine. Neck pain may develop due to muscular tightness in both the neck and upper back, or due to pinching of the nerves in the cervical vertebrae. Other causes include neck injury such as whiplash, or a herniated disk.

The head is supported by the lower neck and upper back, and it is these areas that commonly cause neck pain. The top three joints in the neck allow for most movement in the neck and head. The lower joints in the neck and those of the upper back create a supportive structure for the head to sit on. If this support system is affected, then the muscles in the area will tighten, leading to neck pain.

Physical therapists can treat this common, but uncomfortable disorder, by focusing on:

  • Stretching
  • Exercise
  • Joint mobilization or manipulation
  • Improving posture
  • Cold or heat applications
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Electrical stimulation and ultrasound