Neck Injury Therapy & Treatment
Neck pain can be a result of many different conditions like a pinched nerve, soreness from whiplash, or even from just sleeping incorrectly. Most neck pain is NOT caused by a serious disease and there are a variety of clinical tests and prediction rules to determine the most likely cause of the neck injury that will point us in the right direction.
Manual neck injury therapy comes in the form of mobilization of the joints, manual stretching of muscles to obtain mobility and soft tissue massage to loosen spasms.
Here are some specific interventions that help dramatically to curb neck injury pain:
- Neck Flexor Strengthening
- Upper Back Strengthening
When experiencing neck pain, there are several important red flags that warrant referral to your primary care physician or other specialists for neck injury treatment; dizziness, double vision, changes in hearing, difficulty speaking or swallowing, nausea, loss of consciousness, bilateral numbness/tingling, or severe weakness/paralysis.
Our Portland physical therapy clinics are staffed with neck injury therapy specialists and equipment to treat all neck injury pain.
Headaches are a very common occurrence that happens in conjunction with neck pain. Sometimes pain referred to the head can be stronger than pain felt at the neck and the headaches may cause the patient the assume they are migraines, when in fact they are tension headaches in origin.
There are 3 main headache categories, which denote what headaches are caused from:
1) Tension and cervicogenic headaches, which are caused by muscle spasms and tightness in the neck
2) Migraine headaches that are caused by aberrant signals in the brain and usually involve a somatosensory aura
3) secondary migraines that stem from illness and infection.
Headache physical therapy is very effective in treating cervicogenic headaches. Headache treatment involves manual therapy to ease muscle pain and spasms, as well as a lot of posture re-education and cueing during PT sessions to stop the perpetual cycle of neck pain. Strengthening of periscapular muscles and deep neck flexor muscles of the neck allow patients to hold their head up without eliciting muscle compensations and spasms. Headaches can also be effectively treated with mechanical and manual traction to help stretch the muscles in the back of the head and neck.
Whiplash accident rehabilitation may take longer to treat than typical cervical strain injuries. The reason being that during a whiplash accident in a car or through sports, micro tears in the cervical muscles form from the sudden acceleration and deceleration of the head. These micro tears sometimes do not pertain just to the muscle, but can also affect nerves in the back of the head in charge of proprioception. The result is intense, unrelenting pain in the initial phase of injury, paired with dizziness and decreased strength. It is important to be cleared by a physician before initiating whiplash physical therapy so potentially life-threatening fractures are not missed after the accident.
Seeking help from a physical therapist will allow you to heal in a progressive manner. Gentle manual whiplash therapy in the beginning, as well as activity and posture modification, can help with the initial phases of whiplash pain. Additionally, gentle progression of exercises is necessary to regain strength and stability in the neck, while respecting soft tissue healing time.
Whiplash treatment requires a concerted collaboration between physicians, physical therapists, concussion, and mental health therapists can help the patient recover from traumatic accidents that involve whiplash.
Our Doctors of Physical Therapy at Stride Strong PT can ensure successful healing in all of our patients with cervical spine issues. Our dedicated one-on-one time with patients allow us to switch gears during a PT session according to our patients’ pain presentation. Our calm and quiet atmosphere in our physical therapy clinics also help with allowing patients to feel relaxed, so maximal healing can occur. Start your healing today by calling us for an appointment to come visit one of our three convenient locations in Portland, Beaverton, and Hillsboro.