A neck injury has the potential to cause neck pain, back pain, headache, shoulder pain or damage other body parts. This is because your neck is interconnected to joints, bones, soft tissue, muscles, ligaments and nerves in the cervical spine all working together to hold up and move your head as well as the rest of your body. Neck injuries, come in a variety of types, ranging from mild to severe. The most common types of neck injuries that lead to neck pain and back pain include:
Whiplash is caused by moving your head violently. It’s most often due to car accidents, but may be caused by falls, sports injuries, or trauma. Whiplash may damage joints or discs, which may irritate spinal nerve roots or the spinal cord, causing nerve. Whiplash symptoms can include neck pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling in the arms. Stiffness, dizziness, or disturbed sleep are also possible. A multi-modal approach to treating whiplash can be useful. This may include heeding your doctor’s advice, getting some physical therapy, medication, or activity restrictions.
A neck strain occurs when the muscles that move the upper part of the spine are injured. Poor posture while working at the computer, watching TV in an awkward position, sleeping on a pillow that is either too high or flat, or reading in bed can cause the muscles in your neck to become strained. Over time, this muscle strain can reduce flexibility and lead to neck pain. Neck strain may vary from mild to severe. If the neck pain is severe immediately seek medical attention.
Neck sprains are injuries to ligaments. Neck sprains are caused by sudden twists or falls that overstretch or overload one or more joints, especially during sports-related activities. Another cause is repeated stress to the joints. This type of neck injury usually results in neck pain that is aggravated by movement. With enough rest and physical therapy, neck sprains generally heal well over time.
A herniated disc occurs when the soft substance that is usually contained inside of the vertebral disc leaks. Should this jelly-like cushioning substance land on a nerve it can result in irritation of the nerves causing you to feel back pain, headache, stiffness or experience nerve-related symptoms such as numbness, weakness, a burning sensation, or tingling sensation in the arms or legs. Common causes of disc herniation include sudden injury, excessive weight, inactive lifestyle / prolonged relaxed posturing, or repetitive spine-stressing activity especially lifting, bending, and twisting.
Spinal Cord Injury
A neck injury may result in spinal cord damage. Spinal cord injury most commonly occurs when the vertebral bones aimed to protect the spinal cord are disrupted but can also result from more severe disc injury. Since the spinal cord is made up of vital nerve elements, spinal cord injuries can cause partial or complete paralysis. Road accidents, diving injuries and sports-related injuries, can all damage the spinal cord. Spinal treatment should be given immediately and accurate treatment for subsequent quality of life following a severe neck injury. Some spinal treatment plans include:
The McKenzie Method:
This physical therapy approach assesses how repeated spinal movements and sustained postures affect symptoms. This information allows the therapist to give an accurate diagnosis and prescribe an effective treatment plan which include exercises and physical therapy.
The Maitland Method
This treatment plan is based on continuous assessments of applied hands-on techniques and movements by a physical therapist. Specific procedures are applied on the spine to identify areas causing pain. Patient education is an integral part of this treatment method.
With this treatment, a therapist applies a small, but quick, movement to a spinal segment to improve alignment and restore mobility. This is a primary technique used in chiropractic as well as trained physical therapists.
When it comes to addressing the cause of neck pain and the complications that result from it, the professionals at Buffalo Back and Neck Physical Therapy are second to none. Contact us to set up a physical therapy consultation so that you can explore the wide variety of physical therapy treatment plans that we offer to our clients in the Western New York area. Our staff of experienced medical professionals have the ability to assess the source of your neck pain and to devise a physical therapy plan that works for you.