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Treatment for Neck and Back Pain

How many of you took my advise and did your total body scan on January 7th ??  Did you come up with any issues in your neck or back??  Some of us have the normal aches and pains of aging.

Often our muscles will get tight, sore or even painful from inactivity or over activity.  Neck and back pain can also stem from muscular origins, joint dysfunction or can even be of a more serious nature involving a disc or nerve root injury, sometimes producing pain, numbness and tingling into the arms or legs.

Some of you may have neck or back stiffness from jobs that require you to sit for long periods.  The body really is designed for movement, so if your job requires long periods of sitting, don’t forget to get up and stretch every hour.  It doesn’t have to be any thing elaborate, just change the position of your spine, walk around for a few minutes, bend backwards a few times, then resume your work day, but do make this one of your regular habits.  Stretching is something the muscles usually like, but again, you can do this incorrectly or too much, so if you’re not sure, ask someone who knows.  Ice is another easy home treatment for the simple aches that we get from time to time.  Ice should be applied for 30 minutes and can be repeated several times per day.

More serious injuries of the neck or back may involve a trip to your favorite Physical Therapist, Acupuncturist, Chiropractor or Family Doctor.  I use hands-on techniques called  Manual Therapy to treat the soft tissue, fascial restrictions, muscles, tendons and also work directly on the joint with joint mobilization, or indirectly via an osteopathic approach called Muscle Energy Technique.  This is a more gentle approach that allows me to isolate a joint that may not be moving correctly and use a muscle contraction to pull the joint back into its proper place.  Additionally, CranioSacral Therapy can be useful on joints of the cranium and upper cervical spine.  Other therapists in town may use modalities such as Ultrasound, Interferential or Electric Stimulation.  Exercise is also sometimes helpful, especially for chronic conditions, and is also used by most therapists.

There are many avenues for treatment of neck and back pain, but please don’t wait too long to seek care if your symptoms are not getting less frequent or less severe within a few weeks.

Mary Boyd has been in practice for 21 years.  She holds a MS in Health Education and a BS in Physical Therapy.  She is the owner of Mountain View Physical Therapy and can be reached at 290-5575.  Mary is a member of the Sandpoint Wellness Council.  Please visit to read other articles by Mary and the council members.

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