Getting to the Root of Neck Pain
By Steve Kravitz, PT, DPT, CST
If you’re suffering from neck pain – you’re not alone.
It’s reported that 60-70% of the total population claim to experience neck pain at some point in their lives. Neck pain is felt in the back of your neck around your upper spine area, right below your head. Your neck, or cervical spine, is a correlated system of nerves, bones, joints, and muscles that are all managed by your brain and your spinal cord. It’s designed for strength, stability, and nerve communication which makes it an easy target for stiffness, strains, and tightness. It’s common for neck pain to stem from your spinal cord often because of certain nerve signals. If certain nerves are affected, this pain may extend beyond the back of your neck into your upper back, shoulder, and arm area.
How to Recognize Cervical Radiculopathy
Cervical radiculopathy is characterized by pain and/or neurological symptoms that develops from any type of condition that generates irritation to the nerve(s) in your neck. This is why cervical radiculopathy is more commonly referred to as a pinched nerve in your neck. Patients who experience this often feel pain radiating from their neck to their shoulder, shoulder blade, arm, or hand. Because this type of pain can vary between each individual, some report a dull, general pain while others undergo severe or sharp burning. Other red flags to look for are symptoms including weakness or numbness in the areas served by the affected nerve. This type of pain can resemble pins-and-needles and/or tingling, which can also be accompanied by numbness as well. Certain neck movements may create more pain such as bending the neck back, side to side, or rotating it. Some patients have also reported to experience a decrease in pain when they place a hand behind their head. This movement may be relieving the pressure and traction on the nerve root, which in turn decreases symptoms.
End the Burden of Neck Pain in Everyday Life
Cervical radiculopathy affects an average of 85 out of 100,000 people, most often individuals in their 50s. Those who sit for long periods, athletes, and heavy laborers are individuals who frequently experience cervical radiculopathy. Numbness or weakness in your hand can affect your ability to grip or lift objects, as well as to perform simple daily tasks such as writing, typing, or getting dressed. The burden of neck pain in everyday life can can make what is usually an ordinarily easy task turn into a daunting job. Nerve mobilization can help relieve acute neck and arm symptoms that result from a pinched nerve in your neck, as well as improve overall general strength and function. Most of the cases can be resolved with nerve mobilization, meaning surgery is rarely necessary.
Nerve Mobilization Can Help Get to the Root of Neck Pain
Through Nerve Mobilization, my goal is to maximize mobility, develop and/or restore function, alleviate the pain, and ultimately, promote overall health and wellness. When there are nerve fixations, unusual signals are transmitted to the structure that it innervates that create an abnormal change in pressure within your nerve. By gently applying pressure to your nerve, I am then able to move it smoothly through your nerve sheath. Without restriction, your neural pathway can now send proper signaling to the compromised structure that it innervates. This type of hands-on, manual therapy works to relieve the pressure and traction on your nerve root to alleviate the discomfort and pain in your neck and any associated radiating symptoms to your back, arm, or hand.
Nerve Mobilization is just one part of a unique, personalized approach to Physical Therapy which has been developed over twenty years by Dr. Steve Kravitz of Steve Kravitz Physical Therapy. To learn more about how Nerve Mobilization can help you, contact us or read more on our blog.
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