Skip to content

Physical Therapy for Neck Pain


Neck pain can come from any conditions that involve any of the tissues of the neck.  This can range from common infections such as swelling of the lymph nodes, to more serious infections such as tuberculosis and meningitis.  Most causes of neck pain are a result of poor posture, trauma from accidents or whiplash, muscle strain, and wear-and-tear from arthritis and disc problems.  It is very likely that your neck pain is a less serious issue but it is important to check with your doctor anyway.
The first step to treating your neck pain is understanding the anatomy of your neck.  Your neck region consists of the uppermost part of your spine (cervical spine), muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves and blood vessels. Intervertebral discs are found in between the seven bones in your cervical spine.  Each vertebrae also has two joints that connect to the vertebrae below it.  
Physical Therapy
Before seeing a physical therapist, try and perform gentle neck exercises.  Simply move your head from side to side, front and back and rotate it to gauge how bad the pain is when you move it. Heat or ice can help reduce symptoms if there is swelling.  If the pain is worsening, then you may want to see a doctor to get it diagnosed.  The doctor may conduct x-rays to check for problems in your spine.  Once diagnosed, the doctor may prescribe a number of things including anti-inflammatory and physical therapy.
Evaluation of neck pain
The benefit of physical therapy is that it is individualized and takes into account your health and medical history.  The physical therapist will ask you several questions about your history and lifestyle to find out how your injury happened and if there are ways you can improve your daily habits.  If this was a result of an injury, whiplash or a strenuous activity it is very important you let your physical therapist know.  Sometimes knowing what caused the problem in the first place can make the pain a lot easier to treat.  During the evaluation, the physical therapist will also measure the range and motion of your neck to see how limited your movements are and to what extent you can take your exercises.
Treatment of neck pain
Once the physical therapist has collected enough information about your neck injury,  you will undergo passive and active treatments .  Passive treatment helps relax you and your body for therapeutic exercise and active physical therapy. This can include treatments like deep tissue massages, hot and cold therapies, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.  This treatment is meant to prepare your muscles for the active treatment.
Passive treatment is followed by active treatment.  During active treatment, the physical therapist teaches you various exercises that help improve movement, flexibility, strength and stability in your neck muscles.  This can vary from shoulder and back exercises that work with your neck to make movement easier.  Take your time with your exercises.  Perform them slow and as smoothly as possible.  Your physical therapist should guide you through the exercise to help you maintain perfect form.  Exercises will be added, removed and adjusted according to the condition of your neck pain.  
Active treatment may take a while and it may work quickly.  It is important to remember that although you are working on recovery, these exercises are a great way at strengthening your muscles for the future.  As time goes on, active treatment will help prevent future injuries since your neck is stronger and more flexible. Keeping your body well tuned, healthy and fit is the best way to avoid injury.  

Moriarty Physical Therapy is a premier PT center in the Hudson Valley. To find out more about physical therapy or to book your first appointment with a PT, contact Moriarty Physical Therapy at (845) 454-4137 or visit their website



Schedule a FREE 15-minute Exploration Visit

Come visit one of our physical therapy clinics in New York or North Carolina and one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy will do a 15-minute consultation to see if physical therapy is right for you. In the consultation, we’ll help determine the source of pain and movement restrictions to see if you would benefit from physical therapy or might need the assistance of another healthcare professional. If so, we’ll make a referral and help speed up achieving your health goal.

You have nothing to lose; the screening is free! And if physical therapy could help you, we can perform the examination right then–even without a prescription–with Direct Access (covered by insurance).

Back To Top