Pain Edu: Neck Pain

Orange County’s Guide to Neck Pain

What is neck pain?

Different forms of 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 pack?

The solution to your neck depends on the source of your pain and type of injury you may have sustained. The first step is to consult with your doctor and discuss their recommendations for treating the pain in your back. Your doctor may recommend restrictions on specific activities, medication and/or physical therapy. You can try the following steps now to help alleviate your pain.



It is important when you are experiencing neck pain to limit your activity and rest so that your back can heal.


cold packs

Apply cold packs to your neck to help decrease your pain and inflammation in the joints and muscles. To prevent damage to skin and surrounding tissue, cold packs should only be applied in 15 minute intervals.



If you don’t have increased pain with movement, stretching the neck and shoulder muscles can be the first step in helping to loosen up your neck and decrease the pain.


Physical therapy

Physical therapy consists of hands-on treatment to loosen muscles and joints, education on proper posture and movement to decrease pain, instruction on stretching and strengthening exercises to restore mobility and strength, and modalities such as electrical stimulation, cold/heat and ultrasound.

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

Frame The Door Stretch

Waiter Tips Stretch

Chin Tucks Stretch

What can we do about the pain in your neck?

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