Pain Edu: Neck Pain

Orange County’s Guide to Neck Pain

What is neck pain?

Different forms of a muscle strain can result in pain in the neck, shoulders and cause headaches. People dealing with neck pain can find it to be debilitating and is a common reason people visit our physical therapy clinic. If you are missing out on work or having to change your daily activities because of neck pain, it may be time to visit our office.

Pain Edu: Intro To Neck Pain

Are you experiencing pain or problems in your neck? Click on this video to learn more about neck pain and steps you can take to decrease your pain.

The main types of neck pain:


Joint Irritation

Strains can occur when the neck undergoes trauma. Neck trauma is caused by unnatural movement or unbalanced movements occurring over time. Strain symptoms include swelling, stiffness, pain and inability to move the neck normally.

Postural Dysfunction

Postural Dysfunction

Poor posture is a common cause of neck pain and headaches. Bad posture will lead to radiating pain in the arm and pain in the neck and shoulders. Using poor posture while on the computer and jobs requiring long periods of sitting are common causes of postural dysfunction.



Arthritis develops over time or with age as the protective tissues surrounding joints breaks down. Arthritis causes painful and stiff movements, a limited range of motion and joint locking.

Pinched Nerves

Pinched Nerves

Pinched nerves are a result of excessive nerve pressure, this can lead to numbness, tingling, weakness and pain in the neck area.

Cervical Headaches

Cervical Headaches

Headaches are a common result of problems in the neck or from poor posture. Most headaches are due to problems with the cervical spine. Spine issues can present as tension or pain in the base of the shoulders and neck.

Posture Imbalances

Posture Imbalances

Long periods of standing or sitting over time can lead to significant problems in the neck. Poor posture results in muscle imbalances that lead to neck strain causing pain and headaches.

What can you do about your neck pain?

The solution to your neck depends on the source of your pain and the type of injury you may have sustained. Pain is an alarm that goes off in your brain alerting you to take immediate attention. To turn it off and decrease it you need to implement certain strategies. At PTS we follow a very simple formula: “Calm it down then build it back up.” This is done in 4 steps:



It is important when you are experiencing neck pain to limit your activity and avoid painful movement. Use supportive bracing such as wraps, taping and supports.



Finding a different way to move or find a position of relief is important. Modalties such as gentle massaging, rhythmic breathing, meditation are also instrumental in helping intermediary neck pain. Most importantly, get plenty of sleep. 7-8 hours if possible. Sleep is the #1 recovery tool.



Once the pain has lessened using the above strategies, begin to activate muscles and joints with pain-free simple movements. Muscle isometrics 30-45 seconds. 2-minute rest then repeat 3-5 reps of 70% Max effort. Afterward, take a 15-minute walk.


Physical Therapy

When should you get professional help? If it is a traumatic acute injury seek immediate help. If pain persists after 3-4 weeks and is not minimized by any of the above recommendations give physical therapy specialists a call and schedule a free pain evaluation with our top rated physical therapy team.

Exercises for neck pain

Following are exercises that you can try to help decrease your neck pain. Please consult your physician before trying these, and stop if you experience any pain or discomfort.

Side Stretch

Swimmer’s Stretches

Foam Roller Stretch

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