Chances are you don’t think about the muscles surrounding your neck much. According to Grace Walker, PT, DPT, OTD, these muscles hold your head up and allow it to move in different directions. These muscles allow you to trace a bug flying across the room or to follow tennis ball as you get ready to swing back at it. Then one day, you wake up and suddenly can’t move your head, or you can only turn to one side. And you experience, literally… a pain in the neck. That’s a scenario none of us want, but it’s more common than we realize. The neck is made up of many small muscles and carries a lot of nerves, and can easily suffer from a disc injury or pinched nerves. Due to its mobility and flexibility, the neck has a high risk of injury.
Common ways to injure your neck can be a fall or an accident, but sometimes neck pain appears out of nowhere. years of abuse, like poor posture or poor body mechanics – can trigger and incident. Read below to see what our therapists recommend to help you “take the load off your neck”.
In one form or another, excessive stress on the neck is certainly the most familiar cause of injury to the neck muscles. However, a second cause is slightly less threatening, but more common – neck inactivity. Failure to use the neck muscles regularly through moderate activity leads to sudden overuse, poor posture and other stresses on the neck. As a result, the joints, muscles, and ligaments stiffen, and suffer from poor blood flow. Inactivity by itself can make the neck more susceptible to general joint degeneration! The effects of inactivity are magnified as we age. This can lead to degeneration in the bones and joints in the neck. Regular exercise, like walking, swimming, or even playing golf, can help keep these problems at bay. Interestingly, the X-ray of an elderly person’s neck who is more active may look “younger” than the X-ray of the neck of an inactive person in his thirties. Don’t underestimate the importance of exercising those small, but important, muscles of your neck. Call us today to see how we can help get your neck to feel and function “younger”.
Some neck problems, like a mild sprain or strain, may get better simply with rest and ice. Other injuries, like a pinched nerve or disc injury may need a more advanced physical therapy plan tailored to your particular type of injury, like specific exercises to strengthen the neck and improve range of motion. Here are some tips to keep your neck moving and functioning pain-free:
Be sure to call us to schedule a complete analysis of what your risk of neck injury is. Remember, help is only a phone call away.
1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste. 1
Orange, CA 92868