A real pain in the neck

shutterstock_40369477Three-quarters of us will have some form of back or neck pain at some point in our lives.

Luckily, physical therapy and acupuncture can work wonders in relieving the discomfort. In fact, they usually get better results than surgery. Here’s the lowdown:

What causes neck pain?
There are 33 vertebrae in your spine, and in between each one is a piece of cartilage called a disk. The disks contain a gelatin-like substance. As you get older, the disks start to wear out. Some of the gelatin is lost, and the disks become flatter and less flexible, leaving less space between each set of vertebrae. When the vertebrae rub together, pain and inflammation may result.

You’re at greater risk for this condition—known as degenerative disk disease—if you smoke, are overweight, do heavy physical work and/or don’t exercise often.

What are the symptoms?
You might experience neck pain—or pain in your arm or shoulder. The pain is often exacerbated by sitting, bending and reaching. It may be worse in the morning or after spending a lot of time in one position. When the condition puts pressure on the nerves, it can lead to numbness, tingling and weakness in the arms or legs.

How is it treated?
We can teach you exercises that will improve mobility in the joints and muscles of your spine and neck. Improving motion can lead to significant relief from pain. Strengthening your trunk, arms and legs can help lessen the workload on your spinal joints. And aerobic exercise can help relieve pain, lead to weight loss and improve your strength and mobility. The more exercise you can do, the better off you’ll be.

We may also help relieve your pain through acupuncture. Acupuncture helps by returning tight shortened muscles to their resting state. It also may stimulate the release of the body’s feel-good brain chemicals known as endorphins, which can help reduce pain.

Acupuncture also helps spinal related pain by inducing and awakening the bodies natural healing function. In other words, acupuncture reduces pain and discomfort by reducing inflammation and increasing overall bodily circulation.

If you’d like to learn more about how physical therapy or acupuncture can help with neck pain, contact us here.

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