Excel PT: Life Doesn't Have to be a Pain in the Neck

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LIFE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A PAIN IN THE NECK

Do you find yourself rubbing, massaging, or stretching your neck after a long day at work? Almost 15% of Americans report experiencing neck pain in a given year 2 . A study performed on 100 subjects, who were 20 to 30 years old and worked at a computer at least 4-5 hours a day, showed more alarming statistics.

By Emily Chappell, PT, DPT

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INSIDE : • Life Doesn’t Have to Be a Pain in the Neck • Neck Pain 101

• Exercise Of The Month • Featured PT

www.excelphysicaltherapy.com

THE NEWSLETTER ABOUT YOUR HEALTH AND CARING FOR YOUR BODY Health Tips Newsletter

LIFE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A PAIN IN THE NECK

(continued from outside)

INSIDE : • Neck Pain 101 • Featured PT

• Exercise Of The Month • Patient Success Spotlight

The prevalence of neck pain in this study was 81% of males and 91% of females, with the prevalence increasing in those who worked longer hours 1 . Similar to all spine pain, the factors associated with neck pain include ergonomics (posture, physical activity), individual (BMI, genes, medical history), psychosocial (job satisfaction, stress, and anxiety), and behavioral (smoking and level of physical activity) 3 . The study mentioned above

has the tools to help prevent and relieve neck pain! Physical therapists are equipped to educate patients on how to alter and improve desk and computer set-ups in order to support better posture. In addition, a PT assesses neck mobility and checks for radicular symptoms such as nerve pain, numbness, and tingling that would indicate nerve compression. Radicular symptoms are commonly associated with limited neck mobility and poor posture. A PT will also evaluate upper body strength to determine which muscles need to be lengthened or stretched, and which muscles would benefit from strengthening to better support the spine and shoulders. Physical therapists may use manual techniques applied to both joints and soft tissue structures in combination with therapeutic exercises to increase neck mobility and decrease pain. They will also assess joint movement and posture with everyday tasks in order to educate the patient on improved body mechanics. So, don’t let life be a pain in the neck! Call your physical therapist to help you to achieve a pain-free life! Sources: 1.Aggarwal,P.andReza,M. (2013). ImpactofComputeruseonPrevalenceofNeckPainandConsequentDisability. IndianJournalofPhysiotherapyandOccupationalTherapy -An InternationalJournal,7(4),p.102. 2.Clarke,T. (2016).UseofComplementaryHelathApproaches forMusculoskeletalPainDisordersAmongAdults:UnitedStates, 2012. [online]Cdc.gov.Availableat:https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr098.pdf [Accessed12Oct.2016]. 3.Genebra,CaioVitorDosSantos,etal. “PrevalenceandFactorsAssociatedwithNeckPain:aPopulation-BasedStudy.”Brazilian Journal of PhysicalTherapy, Departamento De Fisioterapia Da Universidade Federal De Sao Carlos, 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537482/.

By Emily Chappell, PT, DPT

indicates that ergonomics in the home and workplace have a significant effect on neck pain. This is because sitting in the same posture for an extended period of time can have a large impact on the mobility, flexibility, and alignment of the spine. When sitting at a computer, reading, or staring down at a phone, it is common to develop a forward head posture where the head protrudes and the natural curvature of the neck is flattened out. This posture creates an imbalance of pressure on the muscles and structures on the back of the neck, which causes pain. So what can you do to prevent the decline of posture, decreased neck mobility, and the start of neck pain? You can see a physical therapist who

PENNSYLVANIA ALLOWS DIRECT ACCESS TO PHYSICAL THERAPY WITHOUT A PHYSICIAN REFERRAL CONTACT US TODAY TO LEARN IF YOUR INSURANCE CARRIER COVERS THIS SERVICE

Tim Golder, PT, DPT Tim is a therapist at our Glen Mills clinic location Read his full profile here: FEATURED PT

Neck Pain 101

1. How did you decide to become a physical therapist and what motivates you to work with patients? I decided to become a physical therapist when I was in college at Penn State. During my junior year, I took a functional human anatomy class and absolutely loved it! I have always been into fitness and staying active,

and physical therapy seemed like the obvious choice. There was a time when I did consider going into business rather than going to graduate school, but I soon realized that I would not survive working a desk job! When working with patients, helping them get back to what they love to do is a huge motivator for me. As I mentioned previously, staying active has always been a focal point in my daily life. Therefore, it is easy for me to relate to patients who are limited in their ability to do the things they love – getting these patients back to those activities is my number one goal! 2. In your words, what makes Excel Physical Therapy different from other physical therapy clinics? Excel Physical Therapy’s emphasis on quality patient care and hands on, manual therapy is what makes this clinic stand out from the rest. Additionally, Excel’s model of care allows each therapist to spend the time they need to get patients better faster. 3. What was your most memorable patient experience? My most memorable patient experience is when one of my patient’s gave me two pairs of patterned socks on her discharge day! Anyone who works with me knows how much I love my socks – it was a great gift! 4. If you could be any animal, what would it be and why? If I could be any animal, it would be my dog Henry. He has the best life of anyone that I know and is literally treated like a king! 5. If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be and why? Perfectionist. I am extremely detail oriented in everything that I do, whether it be at work or at home. 6. What do you like to do in your off time, outside the clinic? In my off time, I love to do anything outdoors, specifically hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding, and hunting. I also enjoy spending time with my family and my dog. This November, I am going to Utah with my sister for a week to hike at many of the National Parks in the area!

In many situations, pain that develops in the neck can be associated with one of two major problems. The first is upper-back pain that begins to radiate into the neck. The second is arthritis. Physical therapy can be used to address both types of neck pain. Cervical arthritis causes frequent aches in the neck and shoulders. This pain is generally worse when there are sudden changes in weather or at the end of the day, and while over-the-counter medication may make the pain less severe, it won’t eliminate the pain entirely. The biggest problem posed by cervical arthritis is that the pain will typically cause a loss of range of motion in the neck, which actually increases your risk of injury as a result of a sudden movement. Further, it can cause regular discomfort and frustration, as you are not able to utilize your neck in the way you normally could. There are plenty of situations in which pain in the neck as a result of cervical arthritis grows so severe that it can cause chronic poor posture and even a reduction in height. Addressing the Core Problem The majority of neck and head pain can be helped with one simple strategy: strength building. Often, the cause at the start of a pain in the neck or head is a result of poor posture or quickened motion, and building core strength, as well as strength in the neck, can make a huge difference in your ability to handle tasks without experiencing chronic pain. Keep in mind that the neck and head are sensitive areas, so attempting to treat the pain at home can be dangerous and may not be effective. Working with a physical therapist is the safest way to ensure that you are practicing positive techniques to find relief from your aches and pains. If you are suffering with pain and want to improve your neck and shoulder strength, call us today to learn how we can help you!

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Stand tall with your shoulders relaxed, arms by your side. Execute the move by pulling your shoulder blades back and downwards without hunching your shoulders. Hold for 3 seconds. Repeat 8-10 times. Shoulder Blade Squeezes EXERCISE OF THE MONTH “I highly recommend Excel Physical Therapy and had a wonderful experience there. My therapist’s name was Alexis, who was wonderfully supportive, energetic and knowledgeable. I came to Excel after spending 2 weeks in a lot of pain from a pinched nerve in my neck, with pain radiating down my arm. I visited a chiropractor, and was also prescribed medication, but still suffered from pain. I couldn’t get an injection due to the fact that I’m a breastfeeding Mom, so my doctor advised trying PT before anything more drastic. Thank goodness I did. I called that evening and got an appointment the very next day. From my very first visit, I was given some stretches that helped alleviate the pain. I can’t stress enough how big a deal that was; I’d gone 2 weeks in serious pain with not a single thing that I could intuitively do to alleviate it, so having Alexis give me one simple stretch that I wouldn’t have thought of myself was a godsend. After 3 weeks working with Alexis, I “graduated” from PT (earlier than anticipated) and feel so much better. I’m back to normal with running and lifting my child! I’ve been to PT twice before in my life, and Excel was the best organized, cleanest, and friendliest location I’ve been to yet.” - A.S. (Society Hill) “I’ve been to PT twice before in my life, and Excel was the best organized, cleanest, and friendliest location I’ve been to yet.”

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