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Physical Therapy to Relieve Neck Pain

Neck pain is extremely common, but what is the best way to get rid of it? A recent study (3/13) in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy found that a combination of manual therapy and exercise provide the best results. So, in other words physical therapy should be your first course of action to relieve neck pain.

The manual therapy treatments studied include mobilization, which are slow small movements that repeatedly move the neck joints and muscles, and manipulation, which is a single, small (~1/8″), quick thrust to the joints and muscles. Typical exercises may target your deep neck flexors, rotator cuff muscles, or scapular (shoulder blade) stabilizers.

Depending on the cause of your neck pain physical therapy would also likely address your posture, especially if you work behind a desk or have a physically demanding job. If you have a physically demanding job, working on ergonomics may be able to help you relieve neck pain as well as prevent future injury. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ergonomics as “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.” In addition to reducing pain and preventing injury, working on ergonomics may make your job easier.

To read this study in more detail:,type.1/article_detail.asp

If you have any questions about whether using physical therapy to relieve neck pain is right for you or want a ergonomic handout for your workplace please give us a call.

Jamie Bovay, DPT, CSCS