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Physical Therapy for Neck and Shoulder Pain

You may have shoulder and neck pain from injury, stress, posture, and other underlying medical conditions. This condition may make it difficult and painful to carry out your daily activities comfortably because the neck and shoulder are essential body parts. The neck supports the head’s weight and protects essential structures passing from head to body and vice-versa. Conversely, the shoulder is the body part with the most extensive range of motion and is responsible for the motion of the upper limbs.

Physical therapy in Amityville, NY, can treat and manage neck and shoulder pain, ensuring you can enjoy regular activities and improve your overall quality of life. This article will discuss how physical therapy at Summit Physical Therapy helps with neck and shoulder pain.

Causes of Neck and Shoulder Pain

Some of the common causes of neck pain include:

  • Muscle strain: The neck muscles may become strained due to overuse. Repetitive motion and strenuous activities constitute overuse of the neck muscles, leading to pain and stiffness. You may also strain your neck due to poor posture, uncomfortable sleeping positions, sudden neck movement during exercises, etc. 
  • Aging: Various body parts experience wear and tear due to long years of use as we age. The neck does not escape age-related deterioration, as its joints might break down, causing neck pain. 
  • Injury: The neck is susceptible to damage from injury. Traumatic events, such as falls, road accidents, sports accidents, etc, can cause the neck muscles and ligaments to move out of range, damaging or fracturing them. One common injury of the neck is a whiplash injury, which may occur due to a forceful forward or backward head jerking during a motor vehicle accident. Neck injuries cause intense pain and discomfort. 
  • Infections: You may experience neck pain if you develop common or rare neck infections. Common neck infections, such as strep throat or viral infections of the throat, may lead to lymph node swelling and inevitably cause pain. Rare neck infections, such as tuberculosis of the neck, infection of the spine bones in the neck, etc, can also lead to neck pain.
  • Medical conditions: Meningitis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, spondylosis, spinal stenosis, cancer, and several other severe medical conditions may also cause neck pain. 

Some of the most common causes of shoulder pain include:

  • Rotator cuff injury: The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint that allow you to move your arms as freely as possible while keeping your upper arm bone firmly within the shoulder’s socket. The rotator cuff may tear due to overuse, traumatic events like a fall, age-related degeneration, and other conditions. A torn rotator cuff may cause a clicking sound and severe shoulder pain.
  • Bursitis: Bursae are tiny, fluid-filled sacs cushioning the bones, tendons, and muscles near the joints. They reside in the shoulder, elbow, hip, and other joints. Despite their relieving functions, bursae can become inflamed due to repetitive motion, causing intense pain and discomfort in the shoulder.
  • Shoulder dislocation: The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. Therefore, an extreme range of motion may cause the top of your arm to pop out of its socket. This condition is known as dislocation. Shoulder dislocation may lead to swelling, bruising, numbness, weakness, and intense pain in the shoulder. 
  • Frozen shoulder: This condition occurs when abnormal bands of tissue build up in the shoulder joint, making the muscles, ligaments, and tendons inside the shoulder stiff. You might develop a frozen shoulder if you do not use your shoulder often, causing a buildup of adhesions. A frozen shoulder causes a lot of pain and restricts movement. 
  • Shoulder fracture: Any of the bones that make up the shoulder can fall or break due to traumatic events such as falls, motor accidents, or direct blows to the shoulder. A shoulder fracture can cause a bruise, severe pain, and restrict shoulder movement. 

Other causes of shoulder pain include impingement, bone spurs, nerve injury, shoulder separation, osteoarthritis, tendinitis, etc. 

What does Physical Therapy for Neck and Shoulder Pain Entail?

Physical therapy in Amityville, NY, is one of the most common treatment methods for neck and shoulder pain. Physical therapy relieves pain and maintains/restores physical health through physical interventions, such as exercises and manual therapy, patient education, and other modalities. The following explains what you should expect when you seek physical therapy for neck and shoulder pain in Merrick:

Initial Evaluation

Before beginning any physical therapy intervention, your physical therapist will comprehensively assess your symptoms, needs, and goals. Your physical therapist may ask about your medical history and perform other physical exams and tests to determine the cause of your neck or shoulder pain and the best treatment method. 

Treatment Interventions

A physical therapist in Merrick, NY, will create a personalized treatment plan based on the results of their initial evaluation. Physical therapy interventions for neck and shoulder pain can be passive or active. Passive physical therapy does not require the patient to take any action. Instead, the patient receives treatment methods from the therapist. On the other hand, active physical therapy requires the patient to involve themselves by participating in the treatment procedure. Examples of passive and physical therapy interventions used to treat and manage neck and shoulder pain include:

Manual Therapy

Manual therapy is a physical therapy treatment method that employs hands-on techniques to treat and manage musculoskeletal pain. Examples of manual therapy techniques that physical therapists use to treat neck and shoulder pain include massage therapy, joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, trigger point release, myofascial release, etc.

Exercise Therapy

Exercise programs are an example of active physical therapy because they require the patient to participate in their treatment. Types of therapeutic exercises that a physical therapist may include in your treatment plan for neck and shoulder pain include stretching, strengthening, aerobic, core and back, and aquatic exercises. Examples include reverse crunch, pendulum, shoulder blade squeeze, neck roll, chest stretch, etc. 

Other Modalities

Other physical therapy modalities that therapists may employ for neck and shoulder pain include heat and cold therapy, electrical stimulation, therapeutic ultrasound, posture correction, etc. 

Education

Physical therapists also educate their patients on ergonomics and self-management strategies that can help treat and manage their neck and shoulder pain. 

Benefits of Physical Therapy for Neck and Shoulder Pain

The following are the benefits of physical therapy for neck and shoulder pain in Merrick:

  • Pain relief
  • Improved range of motion
  • Improved mobility
  • Increased strength
  • Better posture
  • Improved overall quality of life, etc. 

Conclusion

Neck and shoulder pain can cause a lot of discomfort and prevent you from participating in activities you enjoy the most. They make you unproductive and unable to achieve your daily goals. While there are several treatment methods for neck and shoulder pain, most of them are either ineffective or come with excessive risks or complications. Physical therapy is an effective, non-invasive treatment that relieves neck and shoulder pain. Therefore, you should consider undergoing physical therapy at Summit Physical Therapy if you are suffering from neck or shoulder pain.