Physical therapy for neck pain can be used to manage the long-term symptoms of certain cervical spine conditions, or to help a patient recover following cervical spine surgery. When employed as part of a course of conservative treatment for conditions such as spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease or osteoarthritis, the main goal of physical therapy is to help the patient improve or maintain the strength and flexibility of the neck muscles.
Physical therapists have many tools at their disposal for managing back or neck pain, including:
- Nerve stimulation – also known as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), this treatment involves attaching electrodes to the skin to run currents through the muscle, which is believed to help alleviate stiffness and increase mobility
- Ultrasound – high-frequency sound waves are directed toward a specific part of the body to generate soothing heat via internal vibrations
- Hot and cold application – heat is applied to various areas of the body increase blood flow and help alleviate muscle spasms, while cold slows blood flow to reduce swelling
- Massage – the application of pressure during deep-tissue massage is used to release chronic muscle tension
- Traction – stretching the spine, either by hand or machine, can help improve mobility and reduce pain
If a course of conservative treatment that includes physical therapy for neck pain is not enough to manage your chronic spinal problems, your doctor might present surgery as an option. If this happens, contact Laser Spine Institute (LSI) to find out how a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure can help you rediscover a life without pain. The medical professionals at LSI will review your MRI or CT scan for free and determine if you are a candidate for our revolutionary endoscopic procedures.