If you are suffering from neck pain it is important to get yourself evaluated from your doctor and carry out the advised investigations. The neck pain can be due a muscle stretch or spasm or an abnormal posture. Sometimes persistent neck pain can also be due to a cervical disease.
Cervical disease usually includes the affection of the cervical or neck bones or an abnormality in the cushion or disc between the neck bones. This is commonly termed as cervical spondylosis. In such cases, along with medical treatment, the doctor usually recommends seeing a physical therapist.
When visiting the physical therapist, it is important to carry all the medical papers, investigation reports and prescriptions. The therapist will also conduct an examination to know the extent of your problem. Based on your clinical condition, your reports and the treating doctor’s suggestions, the physical therapist will plan a treatment regimen for you.
Physical therapy may include few sessions of treatment depending on the severity of your condition. You can help the therapists by giving a detailed history of your symptoms. They would like to know the location, extent and severity of your pain, the triggering factors, any radiating pain in surrounding areas like shoulders, arms, jaw, etc. Let them know about any numbness, tingling or changes in sensation.
Physical therapy involves the use of mechanical system to correct the abnormality of the cervical spine or neck bones, uses physical agents like heat, ice, pressure, etc and further exercises to strengthen the muscles and tissues.
Some of the treatment options that may be prescribed for cervical spondylosis or neck pain are:
- Cervical Traction – This is a kind of machine on which the patient has to lie down and weights are therapeutically adjusted to extend the neck. Traction helps to pull the neck bones back to their position and thus relieves the pressure on the neck bones. This helps to release the nerves trapped in between the bones and reduces pain, numbness or tingling.
- Electrical stimulation – These are felt in the form of vibrations and are used to stimulate the nerves when there is radiating pain or numbness due to evident nerve entrapment.
- Ultrasound – This is used to relax the muscles and tissues.
- Exercises –The exercises should be started only on advice from the therapist. They aim at strengthening and stretching muscles and ligaments. These are generally progressive, based on the improvement in the condition.
- Braces – A cervical collar may be advised for immobilizing the neck.
- Advice – Advice regarding ergonomics, correct posture, way of sitting, bending and walking is given. Following the restrictions made for the specified time are equally important.