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Got Neck Pain??

Stages of Spinal Disc Herniation
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How many of us walk around rubbing our necks??  Neck pain is quite common.  I think if we look back in time to the early days when we were hunter- gathers and then farmers, we can see how humans were meant to be upright and mostly active.  Since the industrial revolution however, our lives have become increasingly more sedentary.  Many of us sit for much of the day.  Whether you work on an assembly line or in front of a computer, sitting in a slouched position will put our necks in a forward head posture.  This position will automatically put us in a mechanical disadvantage and will lead to muscle imbalance all around the neck, front, back and on the sides.

Many of us have simple muscle tension of the upper trapezius which is the muscle that most of us are rubbing on the top of the shoulder leading to the neck.  This is very common with slouching or in stressful situations when we tend to hold our shoulders slightly elevated without even knowing.  Some of us have joint dysfunction which may occur as a result of trauma, poor posture or even just sleeping incorrectly.  This joint dysfunction may feel like local pain and if left untreated will involve the surrounding muscles.  Often the simple neck pain will resolve with stretching, ice, and rubbing the tight muscle.  Some people get headaches from unresolved joint dysfunction or muscle tension.

A more serious problem in the neck is a disc herniation or nerve root irritation, “pinched nerve”.  These injuries may come on gradually with time or result from trauma.  The symptoms may include local neck pain or burning with numbness, tingling and/or pain down the arm to the fingers.  These symptoms are of a more serious nature and people should not delay treatment.

Treatment of the neck may require joint or soft tissue mobilization.  People may seek treatment for simple muscle tension from a massage therapist or Physical Therapist.  More serious injuries of the disc or nerve root can often be treated with Chiropractic, Accupuncture or Phyical Therapy.  Your local physician may help you if you feel you need prescription medication for inflammation or pain control or of course if your symptoms require MRI imaging or are of a surgical nature.

Mary Boyd, MS, PT is the owner of Mountain View Physical Therapy and can be reached for questions at 290-5575 or on the web at www.MtnviewPT.com.

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