Physiotherapy comprises an important component of the treatment for neck pain. Physiotherapy for neck pain can be divided into two categories.
- Things that the physio does for you
- Things the physio teaches you to do for yourself.
Nowadays, active therapeutic exercises have become the centre stage of the best way to recovery. A physiotherapy session is most likely filled with teaching and supervising you as you learn physical exercises and body mechanics to heal the neck pain and reduce the risk of repeated injuries. You may also undergo some passive pain relieving interventions as appropriate. To achieve the best results your physio may use any of the following methods in combination.
Ultrasound: Also known as ultrasound diathermy, this technique utilizes sound waves beyond the range of human hearing to produce heat as it penetrates through the deep neck tissues. Sound waves are safe waves for human tissues. However, ultrasound treatments are not recommended for people with any type of implant with a metal lead. Happy Physio recommends that you should not undergo therapeutic ultrasound on the neck even with such devices turned off. Muscle pains and degenerative arthritis of the neck are the common conditions that are treated with therapeutic ultrasound in our office. Ultrasound is usually applied for 7-8 minutes during a consultation at Happy Physio in Perth. Ultrasound is only used on people with neck pain when indicated.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): This technique is more of pain reliever that will enable you to participate in the exercise program or other therapies for neck pain and it does not have a direct impact upon the underlying cause of the pain. TENS is also considered generally safe but if you have a pacemaker or similar implants inside, you might want to consult your doctor first. In this therapy, small electrodes are placed strategically on your skin near the source of the pain. Electricity with very low voltage is passed through your skin during which you will feel tingling sensation. TENS is usually applied for 10-15 minutes during a consultation.
Low-level LASER Therapy (LLT): Also known as phototherapy or biostimulation, low-level LASER therapy is also a non-invasive therapy where light with a single wavelength delivers energy to the site of pain. It’s widely believed among the physio community that lights with certain wavelengths have the ability to reduce inflammation and accelerate tissue repair though no scientific research back it. As there is no research to support this type of therapy, we do not use it at Happy Physio.
Traction: It is a widely employed physiotherapy modality wherein the physio uses his hands or a specialized equipment to apply a force in a predetermined way to pull apart two adjacent bones so that the shared joint space in between the bones increases. In instances of neck pain, this technique helps to reduce muscle spasms. It also helps to release pinched nerves when more space is created between vertebrae.
Exercises: Physical activities in general is a great aid for people to get relief from long standing neck pains and heal faster after neck injuries. There is mounting scientific evidence that support the importance of physical activities in recovery from neck pain. Starting gentle exercises as soon as the injuries occur always result in faster healing. Neck stretching, neck lengthening, and shoulder strengthening are the common exercises modalities that are helpful in recession of associated neck pains. Neck stretching exercises such as lateral rotation range of motion and side bending range of motion are particularly helpful in relieving pains.
Guidelines for Home Exercises: At our office, your physio may suggest some daily exercises that you can follow up at the comfort of your home. A meticulous follow up with these suggestions is important if you do not want repeated incidents of neck pains. The following tips will help you do these physical exercises the right way.
- Always start with a gentle warm up. If you are into aerobics, it’s good. If not, a simple walking or riding an exercise bike will do fine.
- You may want to use a heating pad or warm compress to warm your neck up before exercise.
- Always do the exercises slowly and gently.
- Never ever exercise to the point that it produces pain.
- If in case you feel pain, stop right there. You will need to consult your physio before continuing with the exercises.
- Do not try to use too much weight when lifting and do not do too much too soon.
The above tips will help you do well in your home exercise regimens. Of course, your physio will guide you through appropriate exercises; motivate you to work hard enough so that you could start seeing visible results at the earliest. But always, before you start exercising yourself make sure that you understand which exercises to do and how to do them safely. At Happy Physio, you will always receive clear instructions and illustrations that will guide you through the right way.
Call us now at (08) 9272 7359 and let us help you with your injury.