Back & Neck Pain

Back and Neck pain therapy

Physical therapy for back and neck conditions focuses on the structures that support the spine and its joints including muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Almost everyone has dealt with some level of neck pain previously and without understanding the cause, the odds are good it will occur again. Neck pain is often caused by prolonged strain on upper back and neck muscles due to poor posture or spending a long amount of time in one position. While neck pain can also stem from other sources, there are certainly some steps you can take to decrease the odds during your daily routine by reducing the strain put on your neck and upper back muscles.

  1. Make sure that if you work at a desk or workstation that it is set up ergonomically to reduce the strain on your neck and upper back muscles.
  2. If you spend a lot of your day sitting, make sure that you get up and move around to take stretch breaks every 20-30 minutes.
  3. Complete some regular neck and postural muscle stretches like those found below if you have been doing a lot of seated work and/or notice some tightness beginning in your neck and upper back muscles.
  4. Become more in-tune with your posture and try to maintain proper posture as much as you can during the day.
  5. Work on strengthening your postural muscles with a couple easy exercises like those found below.

Old habits like poor posture can be hard to break, but if you start with one suggestion at a time and focus, you should be on your way to a decreased incidence of neck and upper back pain!

Stretches

Lateral Neck Flexion Stretch

  • Slowly tilt head toward one shoulder, then the other. Hold each position 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat 3-4 times per set. Do 1 set per session. Do 1-2 sessions per day.
Neck Rotation Stretch

  • Turn head slowly to look over one shoulder, then the other. Hold each position 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat 3-4 times per set. Do 1 set per session. Do 1-2 sessions per day.
Flexibility: Corner Stretch/Pectoralis Muscle Stretch

  • Standing in corner with hands just above shoulder level and feet 16-20 inches from corner, lean forward until a comfortable stretch is felt across chest. Hold 20 seconds.
  • Repeat 3-4 times per set. Do 1 set per session. Do 1-2 sessions per day.
Chest / Bicep Stretch

  • Grasp hands behind back and squeeze shoulder blades together. Slowly raise and straighten arms through what feels like a comfortable stretch. Hold 15-20 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times per set. Do 1 set per session. Do 1-2 sessions per day.

Strengthening Exercises

Scapular Retraction (Standing or seated)

  • With arms at sides, pinch shoulder blades together. Hold for 8-10 seconds. Relax.
  • Repeat 10 times per set. Do 1 set per session. Do 2-3 sessions per day.
Scapular Retraction: Bilateral Row

  • Use either a resistance band or a row machine in the gym. Face the anchor, pull arms back, pinching shoulder blades together at the same time. Hold 1-2 seconds. Slowly return to start.
  • Repeat 10-12 times, 2 sets. Do 3 days a week.