Thursday, August 11, 2022

How To Treat Neck And Shoulder Pain

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What Kind Of Physical Therapist Do I Need

How to Self Treat Neck and Shoulder Pain While on Lockdown

All physical therapists are prepared through education and experience to treat people who have neck pain. You may want to consider:

  • A physical therapist who is experienced in treating people with orthopedic, or musculoskeletal, problems.
  • A physical therapist who is a board-certified clinical specialist or who completed a residency or fellowship in orthopedic physical therapy. This physical therapist has advanced knowledge, experience, and skills that may apply to your condition.

You can find physical therapists who have these and other credentials by using Find a PT, the online tool built by the American Physical Therapy Association to help you search for physical therapists with specific clinical expertise in your geographic area.

General tips when youre looking for a physical therapist:

  • Get recommendations from family and friends or from other health care providers.
  • When you contact a physical therapy clinic for an appointment, ask about the physical therapists’ experience in helping people with neck pain.
  • Be prepared to describe your symptoms in as much detail as possible, and say what makes your symptoms worse.

What Symptoms Relate To Neck Pain

The pain often spreads from the neck towards the shoulders or upper back, and it often causes headaches. You might find the pain is worse when you hold your head in one position for a long time, for example, at a computer.

Neck pain might also come with muscle tightness or spasms, and you might not be able to move your head very well.

If you have a neck injury, you might also have dizziness, pins and needles or numbness, weakness, changes to your vision or hearing, problems concentrating or difficulty swallowing. See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

What Is Neck Pain

Neck pain is the worst kind of overachiever. It’s so common that it’s the fourth-leading cause of disability globally, following ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and lower respiratory infection. Nearly 30 percent experience it each year.

And it’s not always centralized in the neck. It can radiate across your whole upper body, affecting your shoulders, arms and chest and can even cause headaches. Living with neck pain can be miserable, making it hard to focus and get through the day.

Neck pain can be debilitating and may interfere with day-to-day life, including your ability to sleep, feel productive, and enjoy time with friends and family. And it affects more than just your physical body. Studies have shown that chronic pain can have an impact on a persons mental health up to 85 percent of patients with chronic pain are affected by severe depression.

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Some Shoulder Conditions May Become More Common As You Age

You probably don’t think about your shoulders much, until you suddenly experience pain in one of them. Shoulder pain can make a simple act brushing and drying your hair, reaching behind your back to fasten a bra, or grabbing something overhead seem like a monumental task.

As you age, you’re more likely to experience shoulder pain from a variety of common conditions. “Shoulder problems are very common,” says Dr. Arun Ramappa, associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School. The pain can come on gradually or abruptly, and it may range from mild to excruciating.

Below are some of the most common conditions you may encounter, and some tips for how to address them.

Limit How Long You Look At A Smartphone

Home Remedies for Shoulder Pain

Constantly looking down at your phone pulls on your neck muscles and puts a constant strain on them. If you have to use your smartphone often, try some of these tips to reduce your neck strain:

  • Hold your phone at eye level.
  • Dont hold your phone between your shoulder and your ear.
  • Use earbuds or headphones.
  • Take a break from your phone hourly.
  • After using your phone, stretch to relax your muscles.

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Easy Stretches For Neck And Shoulder Pain Video

4 Easy Stretches for Neck and Shoulder Pain

Flexion Stretch

  • Keeping the shoulders back, bring the chin toward the chest by bending the head straight forward. A slight stretch will be felt in the back of the neck.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Lateral Flexion Stretch

  • Start in an upright, standing position.
  • Keeping the shoulders even, bring one ear toward the shoulder by bending the head to one side. A slight stretch will be felt in the side of the neck.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds then repeat on the other side.
  • Levator Scapula Stretch

  • Stand straight, raise the right hand and elbow, and place it on a nearby wall or door jamb.
  • While keeping everything else still, rotate the head to the left about 45° .
  • Tilt the chin downward to the left collarbone until a good stretch is felt on the back right side of the neck.
  • Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, or as tolerated. Repeat on the other side.
  • Corner Stretch

    How Is Neck Pain Treated

    The best way to treat most neck pain is to keep moving your neck, stay active and adapt any activities that might be causing your pain. Over-the-counter painkillers might be recommended.

    If your neck pain doesnt go away, your doctor will investigate the cause. Serious, long-term neck pain is sometimes treated with steroid injections or, very rarely, surgery.

    It might be helpful to rest your neck at first, but dont rest it for too long. If you dont move, the muscles will get stiffer and it will take longer for the pain to go away. Its better to gently stretch the neck muscles. Your doctor or physiotherapist can show you how to do this gently and safely.

    There are ways you can manage your neck pain:

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    Correct Position Of The Shoulder Joint

    While the pecs and the lats are primarily movers of the arm, the rhomboids at the back provide stability to the shoulder joint. As the pecs and lats work to rotate the arm inward the rhomboids in the upper back become weak. This causes the shoulder joint to go too far forward, out of its neutral alignment, beyond its range of safety. This can be avoided by strengthening the upper back, using the rhomboids. Get off your chair for a minute and do the following shoulder alignment move to feel the rhomboid muscles putting your shoulders back into their correct place.

    What Can Cause Sharp Pain In Your Neck And Shoulder When Breathing

    Treating Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain with Low Level Laser Therapy

    A couple of conditions can cause pain in the neck and/or shoulder when you take a deep breath, including:

    • Pleurisy : Symptoms include sudden chest pain that may be felt only while coughing or breathing deeply, fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
    • Pericarditis : Symptoms include rapid-onset stabbing chest pain, possibly pain in the shoulder, fever, weakness, and trouble breathing. It gets worse if you lie down or breathe deeply.

    Pleurisy and pericarditis aren’t usually medical emergencies but you should treat any chest pain or breathing difficulty as an emergency until you know for sure what’s causing it.

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    Prevent It In The First Place

    Regular stretching can help prevent muscle spasms that trigger neck pain. Or try acupuncture. A November 2015 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that it substantially eased neck pain for people with chronic symptoms. In our 2011 survey of alternative therapies, 44 percent of people with neck pain said acupuncture helped a lot. Consider trying a new pillow based on how you like to sleep. Side or back sleepers need small pillows that keep the neck in a neutral position. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. For back sleepers, avoid pillows that pitch your neck too far forward.

    Editor’s Note: This article and related materials are made possible by a grant from the state Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program, which is funded by the multistate settlement of consumer-fraud claims regarding the marketing of the prescription drug Neurontin .

    Neck To Shoulder Pain Causes :

    Muscle tension and strain :

    This is usually due to activities and behaviors such as :

    • Poor posture
    • working at a desk for too long without changing position
    • sleeping with your neck in a bad position
    • jerking your neck during exercise
    • Over-exercise
    Injury around Neck and Shoulder area :

    The neck and Shoulder is particularly vulnerable to injury mainly during fall on shoulder to neck, car accidents and sports, where the muscles and ligaments of the neck and shoulder are forced to move outside of their normal range.

    If the Neck bones and /or shoulder are fractured due to sudden jerking of the head and shoulder, Pain and related symptoms are seen.

    Cervical Spondylosis :

    As you age, the cervical discs can degenerate. This is known as spondylosis, or osteoarthritis of the neck. This can narrow the space between the vertebrae. It also adds stress to your joints.

    Cervical disc prolapse :

    Sudden jerky movement in Neck causes disk prolapse as from a trauma or injury, it may add pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. This is called a herniated cervical disk, also called ruptured or slipped disk.

    Spinal canal stenosis :

    It can occurs when the spinal column narrows and causes pressure on the spinal cord or the nerve roots as it exits the vertebrae. This can be due to long-term inflammation caused by arthritis or other conditions.

    Heart attack :

    Neck and shoulder pain can also be a symptom of a heart attack, but it often presents with other symptoms of a heart attack, such as:

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    How Can You Get A Neck Pain Diagnosis

    Neck pain is most often diagnosed by a primary care provider. The most important aspect of treatment is to try to identify the underlying cause of the pain, as this will direct the treatment, explains Dr. Bonte.

    For example, if the cause is due to a muscle imbalance or poor ergonomics , it is important to address these underlying issues when thinking through the overall treatment plan.

    To assess your neck pain, your healthcare provider will:

    • Ask for your medical history
    • Ask questions to determine the source of your pain, including:
    • When did the pain start?
    • What activities preceded the pain?
    • What have you tried to relieve the neck pain?
    • Does the pain radiate or travel into other body parts?
    • What makes the pain less or greater?
  • Perform a physical exam to determine whether your pain is related to muscle, joint or ligaments. This exam will include:
  • Observation of your posture
  • Palpating/feeling the curvature of your spine, vertebral alignment and muscle spasms
  • An assessment of your neck mobility, including the strength and sensation felt in your neck and arms
  • Diagnostic testing: to rule out certain conditions .
  • Your doctor visit may include a neurological examination that tests your reflexes, muscle strength, sensory and/or motor challenges, and pain distribution in order to help them make the correct diagnosis.

    How To Diagnose Of Neck To Shoulder Pain

    How To Easily Treat And Cure Stiff Neck Or Shoulder To ...
    X-rays :-

    X-rays can reveal areas in your neck and Shoulder where your nerves or spinal cord might be pinched by bone spurs or other degenerative changes.

    CT scan :-

    CT scans combine X-ray images taken from many different directions to produce detailed cross-sectional views of the internal structures of your neck.

    MRI :-

    MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create detailed images of bones and soft tissues, including the spinal cord and the nerves coming from the spinal cord.

    Electromyography :-

    If your doctor suspects your neck to shoulder pain might be related to a pinched nerve, he or she might suggest an EMG. It involves inserting fine needles through your skin into a muscle and performing tests to measure the speed of nerve conduction to determine whether specific nerves are functioning properly.

    Blood tests :-

    Blood tests can sometimes provide evidence of inflammatory or infectious conditions that might be causing or contributing to your neck and shoulder pain.

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    Best Ways To Relieve Neck And Shoulder Pain

    Neck or shoulder pain are very common because there are somany ways to strain or injure this sensitive area of the body. There are many issues which can raise therisk of neck pain including poor posture, bad diet or stress, but there arealso many ways to mitigate these risks. If you do encounter neck or shoulder pain, you may find some of thefollowing neck pain treatments helpful.

    Before you initiate one of these neck pain treatments, you should first consult with your physician. Only a doctor can accurately diagnose your health condition and ensure that a neck pain treatment wont worsen your neck pain issue. Furthermore, many of these neck pain treatments are only available through a medical services provider.

    Home Remedies

    Because neck or shoulder issues have plagued people for solong, many neck pain treatments have been developed that do not require involvedmedical intervention.

    If home remedies arent potent enough to relieve your neck and shoulder pain, then you should consult with your physician. Only about one percent of neck pain cases involve a serious health condition like cancer or spinal cord damage, but warning signs include persistent pain that continues for six weeks or longer, worsening pain or fever.

    Medical Neck Pain Treatments

    • Squeeze your shoulder blades towards your spinethen release
    • Gently tilt your ear towards your shoulder, thenalternate on the other side
    • Slowly pivot your head from side to side

    Preventing Neck Pain

    Heat And Cold Therapy

    You may have heard that thermotherapy, the use of heat in therapy, is an effective way of treating pain in the neck due to arthritis. This method has merit. How does it work? By increasing circulation through the joints, bones, and muscles within your neck. Without ample blood flow, areas in your neck will be deprived of oxygen, and this leads to dead or dying muscle tissue, weakening your neck and forcing you to rely on your bones for keeping your head up. Ultimately, this leads to more pain.

    On the opposite side of the spectrum, you can also use cold therapy to constrict the blood vessels in your neck and decrease inflammation. Doctors recommend using hot and cold therapy in intervals of 30 minutes each.

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    Causes Of A Pulled Neck Muscle

    The anatomy of the neck is a wonderful design that is a compromise between protection of some very important structures and movement. The neck contains several vital structures:

    • Major blood supply to the brain.
    • Trachea or breathing tube to the lungs
    • Spinal cord.

    In the end, the need to protect the blood vessels, respiratory passages and nerves has been balanced with the need for mobility and flexibility, making the neck rather vulnerable to the stresses and strains of everyday life to say nothing of direct injury.

    The largest section of the spinal cord and the base of the brain are held within the neck. Those nerves that will eventually reach your toes, and every other part of your body, must pass through the neck. People are executed by being hung by the neck because everything important to life passes through it. In spite of the need to protect the blood supply to the brain, our ability to breathe, the spinal cord and all those important nerves, the neck must also be flexible. Our field of vision is dependent on the flexibility of the neck. To look up, down, right and left in almost a complete hemisphere of vision. This easy and extended movement of the neck almost encourages the head to twist farther than it should during an accident, and often allows the muscles that are attached to the shoulders, neck and skull to stretch and tear.

  • Carrying a tool box or suitcase, or all the groceries, only one side of the body
  • Posture and position at work .
  • Watch TV.
  • Change Your Sleep Position

    How to relieve Neck Pain, Headaches and Shoulder Pain

    The position you sleep in at night can also affect your neck. Sleeping on your side or your back puts less strain on your neck than sleeping on your stomach. When you sleep on your stomach, youre forcing your neck to strain for long periods of time and this can cause pain and stiffness.

    If you sleep on your side for all or part of the night, you can buy a pillow with neck support.

    If you have a painful, stiff neck, you can try several remedies to reduce the pain and lessen the stiffness. Many of these remedies can also be used for prevention.

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    The Best Treatment For Pinched Nerve In Neck And Shoulder

    May 11, 2021

    You have pain going down your arm and youre convinced you have a pinched nerve! What if I tell you that there is a good chance there is no pinched nerve in your neck and shoulder?At least, not the way you may be imagining it to be?

    Since pinch nerve has imposters and there are other things that may give the impression that you have a pinched nerve, you may want to also read my blog: What is a Pinched Nerve.

    Can A Pinched Nerve In The Neck Cause Shoulder Pain

    There are many musculoskeletal issues that can result in pain from the neck to the shoulder and down the arm, but unless the pain is following a specific nerve distribution, shown in the picture below, then what youre experiencing is probably not due to a pinched nerve.

    Now youre wondering if a pinched nerve is not causing your pain, then what is? You have layers and layers of muscles in your neck and surrounding your shoulder complex. When muscles are put through prolonged stress and misuse, you can develop what is called trigger points.

    As explained in my blog: What is the Difference Between Referred Pain and Radiating Pain? A trigger point produces referred pain, or pain in a region other than the muscle that the trigger point is in which is very different from radiating pain.

    Specifically dealing with the neck and shoulder, muscles that often contain trigger points are:

    • Trapezius
    • Supraspinatus
    • Pectoralis Minor

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