The Five Biggest Mistakes that over 90% of people with neck pain make that you need to know about now!
Do you or have you suffered with neck pain? This is an important article that could make the world of difference to you or someone you care about.
Over 50% of people will experience neck pain yearly and 30% of people with neck pain will experience chronic pain with persistent pain for at least 12 or more months. Many neck injuries will relapse and worsen even after the symptoms of pain have initially completely resolved.
Neck pain can be debilitating and can result in difficulty concentrating, lost wages, difficulty sleeping, depression and anxiety. If left without intervention by a practitioner with a proven track record, who treats this day in and day out, then neck pain usually gets worse, it recurs again and again with further deterioration each time. Treatment can take longer and get more expensive, and in severe cases, the effects cannot be reversed.
When you see an expert, someone who lives and breathes treating neck pain every day, you’ll finally be in the right hands so that you can get rapid, lasting relief of pain and get back to loving your life of activity and being more “you”.
You NEED to be aware of how to effectively manage neck pain!
Skilled physical therapists have an in depth understanding of the cervical spine, related pain mechanisms and exercise prescription which makes us the experts at helping individuals with neck pain return to normal function.
But not all physical therapists are created equal!
Physical therapists prescribing generic treatment rather than considering each patient’s unique presentation can increase your risk for a poor outcome and a chronic condition!
Physical therapists that focus their continuing education on neck pain, and evidence-based methods of manual therapy intervention for neck pain, should have the required skills needed to help you if they are performing these skills consistently. Manual therapy is effective in reducing neck pain; however, it needs to be specific to the condition being treated. A lack of skill in this area will lead to a non-specific diagnosis and inadequate treatment. With the proper intervention you can alleviate pain, promote soft tissue remodeling, strengthen and learn proper posture & ergonomics to prevent recurrent injuries.
Before you try anything for neck pain relief, you should read through this list of common mistakes people make that can make you worse!
MISTAKE #1 – Using heat to treat acute neck pain.
For a recent, or acute, injury it is recommended that you apply an ice pack to the painful area. You could simply use a bag of frozen veggies! After an acute injury, your body undergoes an inflammatory response to the injury. Heat increases the blood flow to the area; therefore, if you apply heat it can increase the inflammation, swelling and pain!
Heat should be used when there is no recent inflammation or acute injury. For instance, if you have had dull neck pain, aching and stiffness for a couple of weeks or months then heat can help to increase circulation. Increased circulation helps to drive out cellular waste that builds up in tight muscles, and this can help to alleviate pain.
MISTAKE #2 – The wrong home remedies!
How many times have you heard the statement, “if it hurts, then don’t do it”? Resting an acute injury for a few days is okay. Staying inactive or stopping all activities for a long period of time will actually make you worse!
For every day of rest and inactivity, it can take up to 7 days to recover the strength you have lost! It is important to keep your neck muscles strong and flexible. Gentle movement and stretching can speed the healing process and decrease your risk of future injuries. Motion is lotion, the more you move the more you get the blood pumping around your body and the areas that need it most for healing.
But don’t over stretch!
So many of our patients try to do the right thing by stretching; however, if you stretch with too much intensity or force it can have the opposite effect with muscles that may have been strained (mild tears in the muscle fibers) or with muscles that are guarding. Over stretching can lead to increased muscle guarding, which is a natural response to prevent further tissue damage, or even lead to muscle spasms.
MISTAKE #3 – Waiting too long to get help!
Ignoring your pain or waiting too long to seek help can cause symptoms of numbness or muscle weakness to become permanent and it can result in more severe soft tissue adhesions, nerve entrapment, and wearing of joint surfaces. Pain means something is wrong and ignoring it will not fix the problem but can certainly make it worse and harder to treat.
Pain may be intermittent, come and go, but if you do not find the source of the pain it will gradually occur more frequently and more severely. Neck pain, left untreated, can manifest as headaches, dizziness, upper extremity pain & numbness, or muscle weakness.
General practitioners typically do not have in-depth training in the mechanical issues of the spine. This can make it more difficult for them to accurately diagnose you and come up with an effective treatment plan.
If you have been experiencing neck pain for more than a few weeks, the best way your physician can help you is to refer you to a qualified physical therapist. The physical therapists at Balance Solutions work closely with hundreds of primary care physicians to diagnose and treat neck pain, headaches, dizziness, and spine related symptoms using a non-surgical and effective form of treatment.
Mistake #4 – Masking Pain with Medication.
Using medication to mask the symptoms can create a bigger problem. Pain pills provide a short-term benefit by masking your symptoms, but they do not change the physiology of the problem causing your symptoms. In many cases, your problem can continue to worsen without you realizing it due to poor joint mechanics, nerve impingements, disc problems etc.
Unfortunately, all medications have side effects and certain pain medication like opioids are quickly addictive, creating an even bigger problem!
Mistake #5 – Surgery should be your last option!!
Some people see surgery as a “quick fix”, but unfortunately that is not the case. Did you know that surgery can be considered successful if the patient’s symptoms aren’t worse after surgery?
“studies have shown that individuals who undergo spine surgery are worse off 5 years later than those individuals who chose non-surgical intervention”
“studies have found that ~40% of people experience the same symptoms after surgery and ~20% of people experience worsening of their symptoms after surgery”
It is always recommended that people suffering from neck pain symptoms seek non-surgical intervention for several months before considering surgery. In some cases, surgery may be necessary, especially if symptoms of numbness or weakness increase.
Physical therapists specializing in spine care can help you resolve your condition without surgical intervention or opioids and help you to prevent recurrent problems. Physical therapists are like body mechanics, finding the mechanical cause of your pain and then applying the hands on interventions to fix it!
Making sure that you are choosing the best non-surgical intervention is key!
If any of this resonated with you then you will be glad to learn that we have developed a “Rapid Neck Pain Relief Program”. Our highly skilled therapists can help you alleviate neck pain, headaches and dizziness by performing a thorough evaluation to determine what specific treatments are needed to get you the results you are looking for.
After your initial evaluation, your therapy team will begin hands-on manual therapy interventions to improve joint mechanics, decreased muscle tone/guarding, improve fascial mobility, increased circulation for tissue healing, and help to alleviate your pain. You will be provided with education on proper posture, ergonomics and therapeutic exercises to help improve and prevent a recurrence of your condition.
The Balance Solutions Team treats hundreds of cases of neck pain every year. With the constant rise in computer, smart phone and tablet use, neck pain and headache symptoms are a daily complaint in our clinic!
It’s time to act and reduce or eliminate your pain, call (440) 449-3400 to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled physical therapists today. Balance Solutions Physical Therapy is here to help, offering advanced physical therapy and manual therapy intervention for pain relief.
Balance Solutions Physical Therapy is located in Beachwood Ohio, just on the outskirt of Cleveland. Services offered include physical therapy, massage, myofascial release, Integrative Dry Needling, as well as Pilates mat and reformer private and class lessons.
Balance Solutions Physical Therapy, Inc located at 23175 Commerce Park, Beachwood Ohio 44122