Woman holding her neck

Physical therapy for neck pain or injuries typically consists of the following goals:

  • Improve head & neck range of motion
  • Reduce stiffness & pain
  • Develop dynamic strengthening of the neck and the supporting musculature
  • Develop strategies to prevent pain or stiffness from recurring

Though neck pain cannot always be completely eliminated, physical therapy may play a part in improving the function of daily movements and improving overall neck and spine posture.

Whiplash is characterized by neck strain caused after a jerk or sudden movement forward or backward, causing the neck to extend beyond its typical range of motion. The unexpected force often causes the muscles and tendons in the neck to stretch and tear.

Typically, a result of muscle sprain or strain, a pinched nerve involves the tendons, bones, and/or tissues pushing or rubbing against nerves, which interrupts the nerve function. This process usually results in pain, inflammation, and stiffness.

A neck sprain involves a torn ligament. A neck strain involves a torn muscle and/or tendon. Both injuries are typically the result of a sudden trauma or injury to the neck.

Most commonly resulting from overuse or ‘wear and tear’, a herniated disc occurs when a spinal disc becomes torn, allowing the soft interior of the disc to bulge or leak out of the disc.

A fractured cervical spine happens when one or more of the cervical bones is fractured, most commonly caused by high-force or sudden trauma to the cervical spine.

Neck pain & headaches can be caused by a myriad of things. Among other techniques, therapy may include applying heat or ice, dynamic stretching, gentle strengthening, dry needling, traction, manual therapy.