Neck pain caused by stress: 4 treatments to help

Have stress-related neck pain? Each year, about 30% to 50% of people at least 21 years old experience neck pain in the United States. 

Neck pain that is chronic or persistent can make it difficult for you to complete your daily activities. For example, chronic neck pain may get more intense and cause headaches when you keep your head in one position for a long period. When you are driving or working at your desk for long hours, intense pain may make it hard for you to focus.

Physical therapy treatments for stress-related neck pain can help you avoid surgery and corticosteroid injections. Corticosteroid injections only last for a couple of weeks or months. Physical therapists can provide exercises that you can repeat at home.

4 PT treatments that can help with stress-related chronic neck pain

A physical therapist can identify the specific cause of your pain and work with you to create a personalized treatment plan. Here are four physical therapy treatments that a physical therapist may recommend to help with stress-related chronic neck pain:

  • Stretching exercises — The goal of stretching exercises is to help loosen up your neck muscles. Loosened neck muscles can increase your neck function and reduce your pain. These exercises can also improve your posture and reduce muscle stiffness in other parts of your body. With reduced stiffness, you can pick up objects more easily or be more comfortable when sitting at your desk.
  • Aquatic therapy — In aquatic therapy, your physical therapist will guide you through exercises in a heated pool. The water in the pool helps hold you up and can reduce the weight on your neck. This reduced pressure can help you improve the strength of your neck muscles without placing more stress on your neck. Reduced stress on your neck may make it easier for you to turn your head. As physical therapists maintain aquatic therapy pools at a warm temperature, you may experience more blood flow to your neck, which can boost healing properties, potentially improving the quality of your life.
  • Strength training exercises — Strength training exercises involve strengthening your neck muscles, which can reduce your neck pain. Strengthened neck muscles can also better support your neck, which can reduce the pressure on your neck if you spend long days looking at a computer or looking down at reports.
  • Soft tissue manipulation — Researchers have found that soft tissue manipulation may lead to more improvements in the range of motion in your neck than a therapeutic ultrasound. If your neck has an improved range of motion, you should find it easier to look behind you when changing lanes while driving. In soft tissue manipulation, your physical therapist will use their hands to apply pressure to your neck muscles and the surrounding area to break up any tough muscle knots and increase blood flow 

3 PT tips to address stress-related chronic neck pain at home

Physical therapy is an effective way to help reduce your stress-related neck pain and can prevent the issue from worsening. our physical therapist may also offer helpful tips for in between PT sessions, such as:

  • Try cold therapy — You can reduce neck pain and inflammation through cold therapy. This is because cold therapy numbs the area that it targets. Place ice and some water in a plastic ziplock bag. Put a towel around the ice pack and place it on your neck for about 15 minutes. Repeat this process three or four times a day for two days, and then repeat as needed.
  • Make some lifestyle changes — Your physical therapist may recommend lifestyle changes like changing your posture. Instead of sitting at your desk for a long period while looking down at your laptop, try to keep your laptop at eye level. This change can help reduce the strain on your neck muscles.
  • Try heat therapy — Your physical therapist may recommend that you place a heating pad on your neck and shoulders in the evening before bedtime. The heat from the heating pad can help improve blood flow, loosen up your neck muscles and reduce your neck pain.

Lattimore PT can treat stress-related neck pain through physical therapy

Need treatment for stress-related neck pain? At Lattimore PT, our team values compassion, friendliness and high-quality patient care. In our hands-on approach to physical therapy, our physical therapists listen to you. To treat neck pain, we offer a variety of beneficial services such as stretching exercises and soft tissue manipulation. Our physical therapists will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan with the physical therapy techniques that are the most effective for your stress-related neck pain.

Contact our team today for more information about stress-related neck pain or to schedule an initial appointment.

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