Neck and back pain can be caused by a number of different problems. Some people may have certain genetic conditions, like scoliosis or arthritis, which contribute to pain. Other patients may develop conditions like Facet syndrome, myofascial pain, disc derangement, degenerative disc disease, headaches, SI joint dysfunction, or muscle or joint strains. Additionally, some back and neck pain can be caused by surgeries or pregnancy.
Physical therapy is often used to reduce pain and inflammation, restore flexibility and range of motion, and strengthen the back and neck muscles. In many cases, this can reduce symptoms and even help the back or neck heal quicker.
One way to accomplish this is through manual therapy. This is a technique in which the physical therapist manually adjusts and massages your back and neck, applying pressure to tender soft tissue and bones. Cervical and lumbar exercise therapy is also another method in which the therapist recommends certain exercises for you to complete to strengthen and stabilize your back. Certain modalities, like heart, ice, and electrical stimulation, can also be used to reduce symptoms and help your muscles relax during your exercise treatments.
One of the best ways to prevent back and neck pain is to educate yourself on proper posture, ergonomic principles, stretching and strengthening. For example, it is very important to always keep your chest out, chin in, and stomach tight in order to use your postural muscles to support your spine. Use neutral positions when sleeping, drive with your head against the headrest, avoid reading in bed, and use a screen at eye level when using a computer. Whenever you have to bend over, always use a half kneeling position to avoid putting too much pressure on your back.
If you do notice the beginnings of back or neck pain, always see a physical therapist right away so they can treat the problem before it gets worse.
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