Neck Pain

What’s the problem?

As with low back pain, neck pain can be a result of many different conditions and neck injuries. The good news is that most neck pain is NOT caused by a serious disease. There are a variety of clinical tests and prediction rules to determine the most likely cause of the issue and point us in the right direction. We use the term “mechanical neck pain” to generally describe neck pain coming from a problem with the joints and muscles. More good news- we can help!

How can PT help?

The strongest evidence for treatments that help to alleviate mechanical neck pain is a combination of manual therapy and exercise. Manual 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 pain:


The joints and muscles of the the neck are gently, repeatedly moved in order to restore normal range of motion.


Delivering a single, quick movement to the joints of the upper back and/or neck to decrease pain and restore movement in hypomobile (i.e. “stuck”) segments.

Prolonged Stretching:

When the big muscles in your neck or upper back are tight/knotted and determined be limiting normal range of motion, your PT can instruct you on how to stretch specific muscles to ease this tension and lengthen muscles. One important aspect of this strategy is the prolonged part. Evidence tells us that in order to have a lasting, physiological effect on the muscle fibers, we need to hold the stretch at least 90 seconds.

Deep Neck Flexor Strengthening:

The true “core muscles” of your back are the tiny muscles that span between each segment and are responsible for stabilizing your spine while the big muscles bend, extend, and rotate your spine. In a similar set-up, there are many small muscles deep in your neck right along the vertebrae that help keep your chin subtly tucked and in proper position while the big muscles (such as your trapezius) bend, extend, or rotate your head. When these little muscles aren’t being adequately utilized, those big muscles tend to jump in to help provide stability. The result of this can be painful, recurrent tightness in the back of the neck, often when sitting still for a while and writing or using a computer.

Upper Back Strengthening:

A big part of keeping your head stacked efficiently above the rest of your body is having strong postural muscles in your upper back to keep your shoulders from rolling forward. In addition to deep neck flexor strengthening to pull your chin back, we use exercises like rows to train muscles like the lower trapezius and rhomboids to pull your shoulder blades down and back for improved posture and biomechanics. Proper supervision and guidance through these exercises is needed to prevent the compensatory mechanisms that make neck pain worse.

When to see your physician?

There are several important red flags that warrant referral to your primary care physician or other specialists for medical management like imaging or pharmaceutical interventions.

dizziness, double vision, changes in hearing, difficulty speaking or swallowing, nausea, or loss of consciousness
whiplash injuries and trauma such as a car accident in order to rule out fractures or brain injury
bilateral numbness/tingling or severe weakness/paralysis

Come to one of our Portland Physical Therapy clinics today!
By Dr. Nicholas Chamley DPT

Ana Lucia Pinheiro
Ana Lucia Pinheiro
02:18 20 Oct 17
This place is amazing. I am so happy I found Stride Strong PT. Alice pays attention to all of the details, she watches every single move I make, my posture, and the way I move through every exercise. She is very knowledgeable, she was able to pin-point the problems in my back and she has a plan to help me become stronger where I need. The place is brand new, huge, and has nice exercise machines. I tried a few physical therapists in the area, and Alice is TOP, second to none, and I feel super lucky to have found her. Highly recommended!!
Prashant Gupta
Prashant Gupta
01:00 02 Oct 17
Dr. Alice at Stride Strong is one of the best PTs I have come across. Her attention to detail and assessment of the root cause of injury is very good. She is excellent in evaluating pain patterns and giving a training schedule for a rehab & injury prevention, she is extremely knowledgeable. I would strongly recommend Stride Strong to anyone looking for PT. It is easily the best PT clinics in Hillsboro area.
steven zollin
steven zollin
20:57 14 Sep 17
Highly recommend Stride Strong Physical Therapy , Alice showed me proper form to assist in recovery with my shoulder and is very knowledgeable.
Lindsay Nied
Lindsay Nied
23:33 18 Dec 17
I recently had a massage from Joel at the Hillsboro location. He was able to work on an ongoing issue I have been experiencing with my back after a sports injury, and I left feeling so much better. The whole facility looked incredible, and everyone I met was friendly and welcoming. I would highly recommend Stride Strong for massage and physical therapy.
JoAnn Hatch
JoAnn Hatch
08:20 08 Nov 17
Dr. Sydney is by far the absolute best physical therapist I've worked with ever! Her expertise in designing highly effective and efficient exercise plans is beyond compare. I feel so much better as my strength and function increases. She comes up with the most brilliant and fun ideas to motivate. To my delight she even offered to come to my home in Vancouver and work with me on my own equipment including a Stott Pilates Reformer. Talk about going above and beyond! Couldn't be more grateful I found her!!!
Clare Perry
Clare Perry
21:58 23 Oct 17
A full hour of a dedicated PT professional's time without aides or techs? That's just one of the things that sets this clinic apart from others. Competent, professional, and amiable, Dr. Alice Holland and her team are the best in the area. While I generally see them at the Cedar Mill Clinic on Cornell, situational constraints took me to their new Hillsboro clinic today near Intel Jones Farm. Beautifully furnished, spacious with easy parking and access. May you continue to grow and thrive, Stride Strong!
See All Reviews

© Copyright 2018 STRIDE STRONG