Neck pain is the second most common reason for doctor’s visits in the United States1,3. In fact, it is estimated that up to 70% of people will suffer from significant neck pain at some point in their lives4.
The incidence of neck pain is increasing5, likely in part due to the increased role of cell phones, tablets, and computers in our daily lives. Use of these electronic devices tend to promote poor posture, leading to increased neck and upper back discomfort. Neck pain appears to be more common in those involved in repetitive work, sedentary work (office work), or physically demanding work. Neck pain also seems to be more common in those suffering from high stress levels, depression, headaches, and lower back pain 2. Neck pain can also result from trauma such as a fall, car accident, or sports injury. Patients often report their symptoms as feeling “tight”, “stiff”, “achy”, and many have pain radiating into their arm or hand.
Physical therapists often find that improving posture at work and during daily activities will result in long term resolution of symptoms. Other useful treatments include hands on manual therapy and therapeutic exercise. For additional relief, treatment may involve ice/heat, electrical stimulation, or ultrasound. Current research indicates that a combination of hands on care provided by a physical therapist and an individualized exercise provides the best results.
An evaluation with a physical therapist will identify which specific treatments are required to decrease your pain and restore your ability to function in your daily life.
Authored by: Kevin DiGiulio, PT, DPT, COMT
DiGiulio Physical Therapy & Wellness, LLC
- Fabio, Richard P. Di, and William Boissonnault. “Physical Therapy and Health-Related Outcomes for Patients With Common Orthopaedic Diagnoses.” J Orthop Sports Phys Ther Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 27, no. 3 (1998): 219-30. Accessed April 26, 2016. doi:10.2519/jospt.19188.8.131.52.
- Côté, Pierre, J.david Cassidy, and Linda Carroll. “Is a Lifetime History of Neck Injury in a Traffic Collision Associated with Prevalent Neck Pain, Headache and Depressive Symptomatology?” Accident Analysis & Prevention 32, no. 2 (2000): 151-59. Accessed April 26, 2016. doi:10.1016/s0001-4575(99)00117-7.
- “Neck Pain Treatment Based Classification.” Lecture, Department of Physical Therapy- Temple University, Temple University, Philadelphia, January 23, 2012.
- Childs, John D., Joshua A. Cleland, James M. Elliott, Deydre S. Teyhen, Robert S. Wainner, Julie M. Whitman, Bernard J. Sopky, Joseph J. Godges, Timothy W. Flynn, Anthony Delitto, George M. Dyriw, Amanda Ferland, Helene Fearon, Joy Macdermid, James W. Matheson, Philip Mcclure, Paul Shekelle, A. Russell Smith, and Leslie Torburn. “Neck Pain.” Journal of Womenʼs Health Physical Therapy 35, no. 2 (2011): 57-90. Accessed April 26, 2016. doi:10.1097/jwh.0b013e3182267762.