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Active and Passive Physiotherapeutic Treatments For Neck Pain

Active and Passive Physiotherapeutic Treatments For Neck Pain

While you may know that physiotherapy can be incredibly effective at treating neck pain, you may not know how it actually does so. Here, the team of physical therapists at our Nepean physiotherapy centre explains some of the passive and active treatments involved in physiotherapy for neck pain. 

Pain in your neck can be a source of mild discomfort for some and completely draining and immobilizing for others. Regardless of its severity, neck pain is incredibly common and may last anywhere from a few moments to hours, days, or even weeks in severe cases.

At Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy 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 physical therapy treatment plan is a conversation between you and your physiotherapist about how you are feeling. The more information we are able to gather about your recent activity, the easier our diagnosis will be. The goal of physiotherapy is always to identify the root cause of your health issues or pain and alleviate them through strengthening your body and encouraging your mobility to both heal the injury and prevent it from occurring again after treatment is done. 

After our assessment and identifying the cause of your neck pain, as well as its severity, our physical therapists use treatments from two different broad categories to help alleviate your neck pain: passive and active physiotherapy.   Surprising to many clients, is our physical therapists' treatment of the upper back, as this area is often stiff and a contributor to an overworking/over moving 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 help to reduce swelling and inflammation while heat packs can encourage blood flow to the affected area as well as loosen stiff or tight muscles. These two treatments are often done in alternation with one another, although this depends on the specific kind of neck pain or injury you have suffered as well as your personal preference.

Manual Therapy

Manual therapy is a broad umbrella of physical therapy where one of our professionals physically mobilizes and/or manipulates your tissues and joints, with varying degrees of force. This treatment is able to help many different conditions by loosening and relaxing muscles that may be tense, in pain or stiff. 

When used to treat pain in the neck, our Nepean 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 treating neck pain, our physiotherapists will ask you about some of your daily routines, symptoms, diets and more in order to determine the optimal points on your body to place 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. 

Always wait for a prescription from your physiotherapist before undertaking stretches for your neck pain, not all exercises and stretches treat all sources of pain and some may even make it worse if there is a mismatch. That being said, some active physiotherapy treatments prescribed by physiotherapists at Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre to address neck pain include:

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.

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.

Are your experiencing pain and discomfort in your neck?

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

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Welcome to the Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre blog, where we provide lots of helpful tips, news, information and advice about physiotherapy and massage treatments, as well as general health and wellness, in Nepean and Ottawa.

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