Approximately 66% of us experience neck pain during our lifetimes. In any two-week period, 13% of the work force has lost productive time due to such pain.

Causes

  • Muscle spasm due to any form of trauma
  • Chronically poor posture at rest or at work
  • Bending over or head turning for hours at a time
  • Exercise/sports strain
  • Arthritis
  • Ruptured or bulging disc(s)
  • Spinal stenosis

Symptoms

  • Neck pain radiating to the head (as in a headache), shoulders, or radiating down the upper extremities to the hand
  • Tingling or numbness of the upper extremity can also be a symptom of a neck problem

Neck Pain and Trigger Points

Neck pain should be evaluated by a physician to rule out any possible pathology. As a rule if disc problems or arthritis is found on an x-ray or an MRI, the muscles are often involved as a major source of pain due to the restricted range of motion. These affected muscles often won’t fully release without some additional help from a physical therapist. Trigger points are the hyperirritable areas that develop in very tight muscles that then refer to areas away from the original site. Trigger points in the muscles can also set into motion a continuation of pain and referred pain in other areas.

Treatment

To relieve or eliminate pain, we use many therapeutic modalities, postural education, stretching, myofascial release, and home exercise programs.