THE NEWSLETTER ABOUT YOUR HEALTH AND CARING FOR YOUR BODY Health Tips Newsletter SAY GOODBYE TO NECK PAIN
Neck pain can significantly impact your life, it can affect your ability to work, drive, concentrate, sleep and even cause headaches. The neck supports the weight of our head, provides attachment for our muscles that extend from our head to our shoulders, while along with the rest of the spine, it also protects our spinal cord. Spending hours on our computers and smart phones, we are creating what is called a forward head posture. (continued inside)
By Tara Chadwick, PT, DPT
INSIDE : • Say Goodbye To Neck Pain
• Exercise Of The Month • Patient Success Spotlight
• Focus On Neck Pain To Relieve Headaches
THE NEWSLETTER ABOUT YOUR HEALTH AND CARING FOR YOUR BODY Health Tips Newsletter
SAY GOODBYE TO NECK PAIN
(continued from outside)
INSIDE : • Focus On Neck Pain To Relieve Headaches • Featured PT
• Exercise Of The Month • Patient Success Spotlight
With excessive forward head posture, we are placing a greater strain on our necks, causing the muscles to tighten up and restrict our range of motion (ROM). Neck pain isn’t just associated with postural problems, it can also be caused by trauma such as a fall, a sports injury, a car accident, or degenerative changes such as arthritis. These conditions can also irritate nerves that originate in the neck and send numbness, tingling and pain all the way into the hands.
Chin tucks are a great start to managing your neck pain, but our certified Physical Therapists at Excel can work with you to identify the true source of your pain, determine what other activities may be contributing, and then create an individualized plan based on your goals and needs. Our treatment model focuses on hands-on therapy, combining it with therapeutic exercises which is consistent with the most up to date research (JOSPT 2017). Our therapy is a gentle hands-on approach that focuses on specific neck movements, and mobilizes the cervical and thoracic spine to address your specific biomechanical requirements, reducing tension on the neck. Your therapist will provide a number of exercises that can be performed in the clinic and at home. This plan will strengthen both the neck and the shoulder regions, while also concentrating on coordination, proprioception, and postural training. This multimodal approach of hands-on therapy and therapeutic exercises is your first step to saying goodbye to neck pain. Whether you want to return to driving, get back to work, or simply look over your shoulder without pain, at Excel your therapist will help you devise a plan to reach these goals in the fastest, safest and most effective way possible.
By Tara Chadwick, PT, DPT
Whatever the source of your neck pain, recent research shows that early physical therapy intervention is associated with lower rates of opioid prescriptions, a reduction in the need for imaging, such as X rays and MRI’s, and reduced out of pocket cost for patients (Ford 2018). Thankfully, if you are experiencing pain or if you spend a lot of time on the computer, there are simple exercises you can start today that will improve your neck motion and posture. Chin tucks are a great exercise which can be performed almost anywhere. Start by sitting up tall and placing your index finger on your chin. Without moving your finger, draw your head directly backward away from your finger, like you are making a double chin. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat. This simple exercise will help to start retraining your neck muscles and provide greater support for your head. These are gentle exercises and shouldn’t cause any discomfort, but if you are unsure if you are performing them correctly, you can always talk to one of our therapists.
1. Horn ME, Fritz JM. Timing of physical therapy consultation on 1-year healthcare utilization and costs in patients seeking care for neck pain: a retrospective cohort. BMC Health Serv Res. 2018;18(1):887. 2.BlanpiedPR,GrossAR,ElliottJM,etal.NeckPain:Revision2017.JOrthopSportsPhysTher.2017;47(7):A1- A83.
YOU DO NOT NEED A DOCTOR’S PRESCRIPTION TO SEEK PHYSICAL THERAPY IN THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA YOU HAVE DIRECT ACCESS TO PHYSICAL THERAPY
Ryan Mark, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT (Southampton Clinic) FEATURED PT
Focus On Neck Pain To Relieve Headaches
1. How did you decide to become a Physical Therapist and what motivates you to work with patients? Like many physical therapists, I had my first exposure to physical therapy as a young athlete. While playing high school football, my sophomore and senior seasons were both ended by a torn ACL. To a high school kid it was pretty devastating, but I was fortunate
enough to have had a great PT. He provided motivation, challenged me physically, and skillfully developed a rehab program that helped me achieve my goals. The experience stuck with me through college, as I found myself drawn to the profession. Today, I look at my injuries as a blessing. It guided me to a career where I have the opportunity to get to know my patients and help them get back to the activities they love. 2. In your words, what makes Excel Physical Therapy different from other Physical Therapy clinics? After 7 years working with Excel, I’ve realized that it’s not just the model that makes us different, but the PTs that model attracts… Physical Therapists who are committed to clinical excellence, dedicated to helping our patients achieve their goals, and genuinely interested in getting to know why those goals are so important. 3. What was your most memorable patient experience? Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with patients from all age groups, with a variety of pathologies, and a broad range of functional limitations. The most memorable experiences for me, are the patients I have struggled with the most. One in particular, had arrived for their first visit with years of low back pain and countless failed attempts at PT. As a last ditch effort, she had decided to give it one last try. After tweaking her exercise program and digging to the bottom of my “manual therapist” toolbox, we finally made a breakthrough. Two months later, she was able to enjoy her first vacation in years. Pain-free, without the reminder of all the things she couldn’t do. 4. If you could be any animal, what would it be and why? Some would say I have the sleeping habits of a night owl, the attention span of a squirrel, or the “grace” of a rhinoceros. However, I’d like to be an otter. They have a fun-loving and good-humored attitude, play in the river all day, and mix in a touch of harmless mischief. At the same time, they have an aptitude for resourcefulness. When they’re hungry, they’ll use anything they can to crack open even the most stubborn of shellfish. 5. If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be and why? Geek. Why spend hours on your phone playing games or posting on social media apps, when you can pan through Essential Anatomy 5 looking at bones, ligaments, muscles, and nerves? Don’t threaten me with a good time! 6. What do you like to do in your off time, outside the clinic? In my free time, I enjoy trying new restaurants, experimenting in the kitchen, and spending time with family/friends. My girlfriend and I have recently adopted a puppy, so free time has been hard to come by. Lately, I have been reading books on puppy training, teaching Tucker how to fetch, and searching for the best hiding place to protect my shoes. I am also a very proud alumnus of the University of Pittsburgh, so I take every opportunity to cheer on the Pitt Panthers. Hail to Pitt!
The neck can be a hidden and debilitating source of headaches. Very often neck pain and headaches go hand-in-hand, leading to a miserable time coping with everyday activities. According to the National Institute of Health Statistics neck pain and headaches are the second most common form of pain experienced by Americans, with 59% reporting it affected their enjoyment of life. Some headaches are often grouped under the term “cervicogenic headache” meaning that the primary source is from the neck. There are well mapped out patterns of headaches that come from the different parts of the neck, shoulder and upper back areas. The discs between your bones (vertebrae) and joints in the upper neck often contribute to headaches. Even headaches located in the forehead or behind the eyes are often referred pains stemming from problem areas in the neck and base of the skull. The joints connecting the top three vertebral levels of the neck handle almost 50% of the total motion of the entire neck. This means they absorb a lot of repetitive strain.These joints bear the main load of the weight of the head (about that of a bowling ball). With fatigue, poor posture, injuries, disc problems, arthritis, muscular stress and even prior surgeries, the wear and tear on this critical region of your body can prove too much, resulting in pain. It is also possible that you may develop a narrowing of the spinal canal itself. Since the spinal cord runs through the spine, a narrowing of the canal or where the nerves exit, can lead to a condition called spinal stenosis. There is much that can be done to treat neck pain and headaches. Our expert Physical Therapists have years of experience helping people with neck pain and headaches. By finding the root cause of your neck pain and headaches, we can relieve your pain quickly, reduce the need for medication and get you back to the activities you enjoy. Discover how our team of specialists at Excel PhysicalTherapy can eliminate your neck pain and headaches allowing you to live a happy, active and pain- free life. Call today for more details!
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Patient Success Spotlight
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“My flexibility increased along with my strength and general comfort.” “I came to Excel with frequently severe right-sided neck and upper back pain that often resulted in migraines –like headaches. Almost immediately after starting treatment with Meryl Goldstein, PT, the headaches stopped. Gradually over the course of 6-8 weeks, the right-sided pain became less and less severe. My flexibility increased along with my strength and general comfort. Meryl’s combination of hands-on therapy, strengthening exercises, and good humor made my experience incredible. She clearly has so much knowledge and experience working with neck issues, but it is her kindness and positive attitude that set her apart from other PT experiences I’ve had elsewhere. I would totally recommend Excel and Meryl!!” - Andrew S. (Center City patient) Good posture is best for preventing neck pain EXERCISE OF THE MONTH
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FREE PAIN CONSULTATION
SITTING POSTURE (Lumbar Roll) Begin by moving to the back of the chair. Position the roll behind your lower back. Sit up straight like a string is pulling you upwards from your head. Lift your breast bone up slightly as you do so. Tuck your chin (like a nod ‘yes’) and hold for 10 seconds.
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THIS EXERCISE IS DESIGNED FOR PAIN PREVENTION CALL YOUR THERAPIST IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING ANY PAIN!
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