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Passive and Active Physiotherapy for Neck Pain

Posted Aug 30th, 2021 in Conditions & Treatment, General, Work & Office Health

While you may be aware that physiotherapy can be quite effective at treating neck pain, you may not know how it actually does so. Here, the team of physiotherapists at our Stittsville physiotherapy center are able to explain some of both passive and active treatments that may be involved in your physical therapy for neck pain. 

Pain that affects your neck can range from a source of mild discomfort in some instances and totally immobilizing and draining in others. Regardless of their severity, neck pain is quite common and may last anywhere from a couple moments to weeks in its most severe cases. 

At Motion Works Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre, our physiotherapists are able to treat neck pain with a combination of techniques including active and passive physical therapy for neck pain. 

Physiotherapy Treatments For Neck Pain

The first step of any treatment plan for physical therapy is a conversation between you and your physical therapist about how you are feeling and what sensations you are experiencing in your neck.

The more information we can collect about your recent activity, the sensations you are feeling and the duration of your pain, the easier and more precise our diagnosis will be. The goal of physiotherapy is to identify and treat the root cause of an issue and strengthen your body to heal the issue and prevent it from arising again.

After the assessment and conversation, we will be able to identify the cause of your neck pain and its seriousness. We will then use treatments falling into two categories in order to help you alleviate your neck pain: both passive and active physiotherapy, What may be surprising to many clients, is our focus on treating their upper back since this area is often stiff and contributes to overworking or over-working your neck.

Passive Physiotherapy

Passive physiotherapeutic treatments include any treatment that our professionals do to the patient, without usually requiring any action or activity on your part. Some treatments that we use in passive physiotherapy for neck pain include:

Hot and Cold Packs

Hot or cold packs, also called ice and heat packs, are applied by a physiotherapist to your neck in order to help temporarily reduce pain and swelling. 

Cold packs can help to reduce swelling and inflammation while heat packs encourage the flow of blood to affected areas while loosening up stiff muscles. Together, these tow treatments are often alternated depending on the kind of neck pain or injury you are experiencing as well as your own preference. 

Manual Therapy

Manual therapy is an umbrella of physical therapy where a professional mobilizes and manipulated your joints and tissues with varying levels of force. This treatment can help treatment many conditions by loosening and relaxing tense muscles that may be in pain or stiff. 

When used to treat pain in the neck, our Stittsville physiotherapists will massage the neck and area around it, including the head, the backs of the shoulders and the back itself. 

Acupuncture / Dry Needling

Acupuncture is an ancient form of medicine originating in China. It has been shown to help encourage your body's natural healing processes, reduce pain and improve mobility. Our physiotherapists insert tiny, sterile needles into key areas where blood vessels and nerve endings converge in order to accomplish this. 

Dry Needling uses similar needles to acupuncture, but are placed into trigger points and tense muscles to cause the muscle to "reboot" (contract & relax).  

When we treat neck pain, our physical therapists will ask you about your symptoms, diet, daily routine and more in order to determine the best places on your body to place the needles. 

Active Physiotherapy

Active physiotherapeutic treatment is an umbrella term that refers to prescribed exercises, stretches and activities that are designed to help our patients strengthen their bodies and restore their mobility while also preventing future pain or injury too. 

Before you undertake stretches for your neck pain, always consult your physiotherapist if possible. Not all stretches and exercises treat all kinds of pain and some may even make things worse if you aren't careful. All of that being said, some active physiotherapy treatments that are prescribed at Motion Works Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre to help neck pain can include:

Forward Neck Flexion

Standing up straight or sitting on a firm chair, bend your head forward and hold for 15 to 30 seconds before releasing to neutral. Repeat this process 2 - 4 times.

Chin Tuck

Lie on the floor with a rolled-up towel beneath your neck, at neutral, the back of your head should be touching the floor.
Slowly bring your chin up towards your chest (create a double chin). Hold for 1-5 seconds and then relax your neck in neutral for 5-10 seconds. Repeat this process 8 - 12 times. 

Neck Rotations

Sitting on a firm chair or standing straight, turn your head from left to right with a level chin. Hold your head on both the left and right sides for 15 to 30 seconds each and repeat 2 - 4 times on each side.

Is your neck in pain or feeling uncomfortable?

Our team of specially trained physiotherapists are here to help you recover.

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(613) 831-4054