Are you feeling pain in your neck? You may be thinking about taking medicine or using a foam roller to start feeling better quickly. Neck pain is one of those issues that can make virtually any task feel like a major project. It can be hard to get anything done when you’ve got a lingering pain that limits your ability to turn your head.
If you have neck pain, you’d be one of about 20% to 50% of people who deal with it each year. These statistics indicate that neck pain has become a prevalent health condition that affects a majority of our population. Fortunately, there are options for those who are going through pain of this sort. Keep reading to learn more about the causes of neck pain, if a foam roller can really help, and what other treatments may be able to improve neck pain.
What types of conditions could cause neck pain?
There are a few different reasons why you could be experiencing neck pain. Take a look at the list below to determine if any of these causes sound like what you're dealing with. However, keep in mind that to receive professional treatment, you'll need to be diagnosed by a licensed medical professional.
- Muscle tension — If the muscles in your neck have become tense, this could be the reason behind your neck pain. Tense muscles can be uncomfortable and even painful to deal with, especially when they become knotted in an area in your neck.
- Disc degeneration — Disc degeneration typically occurs as a result of a condition called degenerative disc disease, which refers to the deterioration over time of the discs between your vertebrae.
- Joint inflammation — Joint inflammation also has the potential to cause neck pain. Arthritis of the joints in the neck is called cervical spondylosis. This is a condition that frequently affects older adults.
- Poor posture — Do you ever find yourself hunching over in your chair? You may be dealing with poor posture. Posture has been known to contribute to neck pain over time.
- Pinched nerve — Another condition that could cause neck pain is a pinched or compressed nerve. Pinched nerves can occur at multiple points in the body. If you have a nerve that is being pressed by a bone, muscle, cartilage or ligament in your back, you could feel the result as far as your legs or neck. Pinched nerves have a branch-out effect, where they can occur in one place and cause pain in another.
How may a foam roller be able to help relieve neck pain?
So, if you have neck pain, you're probably looking for treatment. Perhaps you were suggested a foam roller by a friend or co-worker. Do foam rollers really help relieve neck pain?
In short, yes! A foam roller can help. It’s a great option for a few different reasons. The first is that it can release tension built up in the neck. A foam roller can reduce knots that have formed in the muscle and minimize pain and soreness. Whether your knot has formed because of a trigger point or myofascial adhesion, a foam roller has the potential to release it and improve your neck pain. It also increases blood flow to the area it’s applied, which can help increase recovery time from an injury. Foam rollers, combined with physical therapy treatment, can be one of the more effective options for someone struggling to manage their neck pain.
While a foam roller can be a great option for many reasons, it may not be the most effective method for all cases of neck pain. If your pain is caused by a condition like arthritis or a pinched nerve, your best bet may be to go another route. Either way, physical therapy can help. A physical therapist can provide you with a diversified treatment plan so if a foam roller doesn’t help your neck pain, you’re still likely to find another way.
What other treatment methods could help relieve neck pain during physical therapy?
There are a few different types of treatments and services you could receive from physical therapy, besides using a foam roller. Check out some of the options and alternatives listed below:
- Improving your posture — One of the methods that a physical therapist might use to treat your neck pain is working on improving your posture. If the source of your pain is rooted in poor posture, they will teach you how to correctly position your body so that you can sit and stand comfortably and reduce your neck pain.
- Building muscle strength — Another method that a physical therapist might use during your session to alleviate some of your neck pain is strengthening your muscles. While a foam roller might be able to reduce some of the tension in your neck, it's also important that you build strength in your neck to prevent tension buildup.
- Mobilizing your joints — Joint mobilization is another technique commonly used during physical therapy. If the source of your pain is related to joint inflammation, performing mobilization exercises may benefit you.
- Reducing inflammation — If you have any inflammation, swelling or fluid buildup in your neck, a physical therapist can address it. They have education and experience in performing certain exercises and movements that can encourage blood flow and promote fluid drainage.
- Dry needling trigger points — If trigger points are your issue, your therapist may suggest dry needling. While foam rolling can help trigger point problems, dry needling can sometimes be more effective. Dry needling can be used to promote blood flow around a trigger point and potentially provide relief from neck pain.
Forever Fit Physical Therapy & Wellness is ready to help your neck pain with or without foam rolling
Our team at Forever Fit Physical Therapy & Wellness can offer you a unique and customized physical therapy experience. We value our patients so much that we strive to provide each one with a personalized treatment plan that caters to their individual lifestyles, habits and future goals. If you’re experiencing neck pain and wondering if you should use a foam roller to treat it, we can guide you through the treatment plan you need. Our goal is to effectively manage your condition and work toward the relief you’re looking for at any one of our several locations. We can help you integrate simple yet strategic movements into your everyday routine so that your neck will benefit.
During our physical therapy sessions, our physical therapists will guide you through your treatment with the utmost care and focus, making sure that you’re completing your exercises or movements with accuracy and efficiency for the best results. We can help you learn the correct ways to use foam rollers for neck pain and even suggest other helpful alternatives.
Are you ready to take the first step toward relieving your neck pain? Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.