Here’s how physical therapy can stop neck pain and help you avoid orthopedic surgery

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As an independent physical therapy practice, the focus at MyoFit is to eliminate neck, back, shoulder and other forms of pain without the need for invasive surgery by providing immediate and ongoing pain-alleviating treatment. MyoFit teaches patients how to eliminate their own pain independently by learning fast-acting techniques. (Pictured above is Dr. Adam Cramer performing a trigger point release technique for neck pain and headaches.) (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Dr. Adam Cramer, PT, DPT; MyoFit Clinic

Neck pain, whether from a motor vehicle accident, sleeping on it wrong, or from lifting too much weight, can lead to chronic deficits that limit quality of life and function.

It is important to see a licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy first to assess your symptoms and movement limitations by evaluating how your body compensates for neck pain. We see a lot of people who get misdiagnosed based on their symptoms and not their functional movement limitations, which result in invasive procedures including surgery and nerve blocks. If you don’t want surgery, don’t consult with a surgeon. If you want to be treated in an environment where there’s no conflict of interest, visit an independent physical therapy practice first instead of a physician-owned practice or hospital where surgery is prioritized.

Causes of Neck Pain
Besides traumatic injury, such as a car accident, poor posture is a major problem for many who develop neck pain. If you constantly lean your head and shoulders forward, instead of sitting/standing up straight, sooner or later your neck is going to start to hurt. Poor posture places your neck and upper back in a significant mechanical disadvantage. The surrounding muscles, if not strong enough, will strain, get tighter and create painful muscle spasms that can lead to years of chronic pain.

Best Treatment for Neck Pain
By seeing a Doctor of Physical Therapy first, they can fully evaluate your neck pain, find the root source and identify limitations. They are also able to improve on those limitations by providing fast-acting, pain-relieving techniques such as hands-on manual therapy, massage, dry needling, trigger-point release and moist heat, which will help the surrounding strained muscles let go in order to alleviate the limited movement surrounding nerves and joints. You will be taught exactly how to reduce your pain through simple, effective techniques that mimic the mobility treatment performed by your Doctor of Physical Therapy, so you can reduce your own pain when you need to the most.

Never let any provider adjust or manipulate your neck. The cervical vertebrae and joints are not necessarily the problem; the muscles surrounding the vertebrae that restrict joint movement causing painful symptoms are. If you have a problem with movement, focus on the structures that make you move (muscles) and you will move better.

Controlling Neck Pain
Like anything else, prevention of neck pain is desired even more than finding ways to treat yourself once it has occurred.

Be sure that you are not sitting excessively far forward, backward, to the left or to the right for prolonged periods of time. This will place excessive stress on the opposite neck muscle group, activating that muscle, which will ultimately fatigue then start straining and causing pain. Be sure to moderate your sitting positions alternating between them.

If you are suffering from neck pain, please consult with a Doctor of Physical Therapy at MyoFit Clinic immediately so you don’t receive the wrong diagnosis and treatment, which can lead to unnecessary orthopedic surgery.

Adam M. Cramer, PT, DPT, is a licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy, pain specialist and founder of the MyoFit Clinic in Chardon, Ashtabula and Middlefield, Ohio. The website is Call 440-286-1007 for help with your pain.