Neck Pain Treatment in Happy Valley
Currently the gold standard in treatment of mechanical neck pain involves a combination of:
- Posture Training
- Strengthening of Cervical Musculature
- Manual Therapy
Treating neck pain can be generalized into three groups; manual therapies, strength based therapies, and motor control based therapies. Every patient will require different amounts and different types of each of these three groups. A highly skilled therapist will be able to determine the limiting factor to your pain and build a plan that results in the best outcomes for you specifically. It is also important to consider how the therapy you are doing will prevent further or recurring injuries based on the activities that you do in your daily life. Ascent Physical Therapy takes pride in customizing treatment plans, based on the latest research, for you that will not only resolve pain but help avoid injuries in the future.
Mobilizations – There are two main groups of mobilizations. Soft tissue mobilization is focused on improving the length and quality of motion of muscles, ligaments and tendons. Soft tissues can become impaired by muscle cramps, spasms, chronic restrictions in motions can even lead to adhesions that block motion, especially after a trauma. Joint mobilizations are gentile glides that help restore the ability of sliding surfaces of the joints. They can also help relax muscles and improve your body’s awareness of how you are moving and improve control of a joint. These two techniques are commonly related because the muscles control the joints and if the joints are not functioning properly the muscles and tendons won’t perform how they should.
Postural and Motor Control – Let’s be clear. Posture doesn’t cause any injuries, but it does make you more sensitive to them. The way we move and how we tend to position our bodies can play a huge role in how we respond to daily activities. The positions that we consider “neutral” are typically where the shape of the bones and muscles tell us the middle is. Every tissue can tolerate some change in position but they tend to be the most strong and stable in the middle. Think of “motor control” as dynamic posture. If you have not addressed the “how” of what you do then you are missing a huge piece of the puzzle and this can extend all the way into the shoulder blades and upper back or “posterior chain.” The providers in our clinic have a broad background that gives us unique insight into many different types of work, recreation and ways to stay injury free doing them. Every patient gets one-on-one coaching for strategies to minimize down time and avoid future injuries.
Strength Training – Making sure that you have the ability to control and support your head and neck is critical in recovering from an injury. The cervical spine can be stabilized many ways. The postures that our society chronically uses with computer work, driving, use of smart phones and desk work promotes a pattern that builds a dominance of the longer muscles (upper trapezius, levator scapulae) of the neck while the short, deep muscles become weaker. It can be difficulty to learn to use the short, smaller muscles of the neck to stabilize your spine it is what they are supposed to do and will help you tolerate difficulty postures without pain. If you get neck pain and headaches from driving or desk work, this one is for you!
Manipulation – When a quick movement of a joint is performed it results in a few changes. X-ray ad MRI studies do not support a misalignment or out of place bone. Similarly, the pop that was found to happen when you crack your knuckles is caused by bubble formation in the joint space, but this is not observed in the spine. The latest research has yet to give a good explanation of what the “pop” of a manipulation is but what we can show is that with the pop there is a large release of neuro-transmitter. This release relaxes muscles, allows joints to move more freely and decrease pain, if only temporarily. This is one tool that can be used with pain and joints that are stiff due to heightened tone around the joint.
If neck pain has been interfering with your life, call us today to get started on a plan of care that works for you. Ascent Physical Therapy is conveniently located off Sunnyside Road in Happy Valley. We also love treating our neighboring communities of Damascus, Gresham, Clackamas, and Sandy at our top rated physical therapy clinic!