Are you truly a pain in the neck? Have you ever had that real bad pain in your neck or arm before? You know, you can’t sit for long. You can’t sleep! You can’t work. It can really be something that affects your whole quality of life. At that time, you might feel like you will never get out of the pain you are in, but it’s amazing with some treatment, education, exercise and life style modifications, you can live without neck pain and or pain down your arm. We look at the treatment of neck and arm pain into four moving parts: pain management, activity modification, postural correction and return to fitness/life.
PAIN MANAGEMENT. Most patients that start in Physical Therapy (PT) come due to pain, inability to do what they want and not being very happy. We take our first few weeks and focus on reducing pain through our manual techniques, breathing exercises and general stretching. Stress can be a big factor in recovery, so we talk about positions of comfort and how breathing can help to reduce stress in the body. We also talk a lot about pain, how it’s normal to have and how your body responds to pain can greatly affect your recovery. Finally, we are learning more about what each of our clients needs and wants are and we get them feeling better as soon as we can.
ACTIVITY MODIFICATION. This is where the movement starts. By increasing movement with daily activities, we find most of the symptoms start resolving within 3-5 weeks of starting PT. Many times, we start some modification activities at the same time. Sometimes, doing certain things will make the symptoms worse. You end up doing them and you don’t even realize that what you are doing is making you worse. Along with this, we start to show you how to properly stretch, how to lift and carry without pain and how to do what helps and stop what hurts. Finally, we teach you how to engage your core. It’s amazing how as we get older, we lose the ability to engage our core muscles. When the core is strong, the back and neck are usually is strong.
POSTURAL CORRECTION. We generally start with your normal seated or standing posture. We like to get you thinking about what we call, “plunger posture.” Imagine a clean plunger on your head and as you walked around daily, someone was hovering above you, holding you up with that plunger. This would pull your shoulders back, hold your head up with your chin tucked in and your core engaged. Voila, you have good posture! We then spend time talking about your posture at work, driving, home, etc. Slight edge changes with improving your posture can lead to reduced years of wear and tear on your spine, body and muscles.
RETURN TO LIFE. At this point, pain is less, activity is more. Our clients are learning more about what to do to stay healthy and strong through exercise and return to life activities. We keep working on encouraging better postures, better breathing and more consistency with exercises at home, at the gym or at any time in the day. This is where many who have not exercised before will learn about how to integrate exercise into their life.
We are all about exercise and the positive effects it can have on your health and wellness. We also feel no one should ever suffer with neck or arm pain. No matter how old, young, active or sedentary.
To learn more, Flaherty PT will host a workshop about the effects of neck pain. Kevin Flaherty, PT will present a workshop on neck pain issues on Tuesday, February 19th from 6-7 pm in our Northborough clinic. Call to RSVP to save your spot at 508-393-9000. If you come, you will leave with some easy to do’s at home to keep your neck healthy and strong!