The neck is a very complex region of the body that houses many important structures such as nerve roots from your spinal cord, muscles, and ligaments.
Physiotherapists have helped many people with neck pain by using physical therapy techniques including massage therapy, soft tissue mobilization, and joint manipulation, and exercise therapy to reduce pain and build resilience to combat demands put on our bodies.
Can Physio Help Neck Pain?
Yes, a physio can help neck pain in a number of ways.
Physiotherapists generally practice with the consideration of both the latest high-quality evidence and the story of the person in front of them, and their specific needs and goals.
Some physio‘s use the more scientific-based approach to the patient, and some use a more client-based approach, but mostly their use a combination, and meet in the middle.
The main philosophy of physios is ‘movement is key’, key for reducing pain, key for improving flexibility, key for injury and disease prevention. However, the parameters for which the movement is performed are so important in achieving the best outcome.
Physio For Neck Pain
You might also be wondering “how physio helps or treat neck pain?”. And the answer starts with thorough patient history and assessment of the status quo of the client, to establish a starting point.
Client History Or Story
During the patient history – the client will be the one talking the most, and physio might ask a few follow-up questions. But their aim is to gather as much information as possible. They might ask about your daily routine, or how the pain impacts you – to try and figure out the cause or driver of the pain neck.
Physio Assessment Of Neck Pain
During an assessment, physios will look at how your neck moves when you perform certain movements such as turning your head from left to right or forward and backward; moving your neck up and down; tilt it side-to-side. And this will give the physio information on what is moving well and what can be improved through treatment.
Physio Treatment For Neck Pain
During neck pain treatment, physios can help neck pain by performing soft tissue mobilization to muscles and ligaments in the neck. They might also use joint manipulation if there are any restrictions within your joints or vertebrae of the neck.
Hands-on therapies like muscle release techniques and joint mobilizations (or ‘mobs’ as we like to call them) are great at reducing pain and stiffness in the initial stages of treatment – because at first, the main thing is to give the client relief.
Once the symptoms have gone down and you are moving freely again without restrictions (and this can take a few sessions), the physio will then progress to exercise therapy, progresses them weekly or every fortnight or so to strengthen the muscles of the neck and shoulders to prevent future flare-ups or episodes or neck pain.
How To Get The Best Results From Physio
The best results are achieved when the client is fully engaged in their neck pain treatment, to improve neck mobility and flexibility for good.
A physio will tell you what you can do with your neck at home or work – i.e., where they want you to be mobilizing it more often throughout your day so that doing these movements regularly will give neck pain relief and neck rehabilitation.
Treatment of neck pain can be lengthy. It is hard to give a timeline because everyone’s neck is different and so is their treatment journey. But if you ask questions, follow the exercise program, understand the cause or drivers of your pain and modify what is modifiable – you will do well.
It does take commitment and consistency. However, in my opinion, living without fear of a flare-up or fear movement, simply being able to function at a higher level is very much worth the time and effort.
Your physio will work to find an exercise plan that is challenging enough that you feel the results and that is motivating. And an exercise program that works in and around your schedule – even if it is 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there.
It finishes up this on neck pain, yes physio can help chronic or acute neck without surgery or medications, with their hands and specific exercises to get neck pain relief and regain function and strength.
Adherence and movement are key to success. And your physio will work with you, no matter what, if they are more science-based or client-based, all physios what the best outcomes for their clients, be to return to work or sports, or sleep pain-free, or no longer fear moving their neck at all.