Neck Pain Relief: How Physical Therapy Can Help

Neck Pain Relief: How Physical Therapy Can Help

In today’s digital era, neck pain has become a common complaint among people of all ages. While it’s easy to turn to painkillers for quick relief, they only mask the symptoms without addressing the root cause. Physical therapy, on the other hand, offers both immediate relief and long-term solutions. In this blog, we’ll explore how physical therapy can be a game-changer for anyone experiencing neck pain, and discuss techniques and strategies that therapists use to bring relief and restore neck health.

Is Physical Therapy Worth It For Neck Pain?

Is Physical Therapy Worth It For Neck Pain?Absolutely, physical therapy is often considered a primary and effective treatment option for neck pain. Rather than simply masking the pain, physical therapy addresses the root causes of discomfort. Especially for individuals who experience chronic neck pain or have sustained an injury, physical therapy can offer tailored exercises and hands-on treatments that promote healing. Ultimately improve quality of life.

Furthermore, physical therapy is a non-invasive approach. This means patients can often avoid the risks and side effects associated with surgery or prolonged use of medications. A trained physical therapist can provide techniques and strategies that are specific to each individual’s condition, ensuring a more personalized and effective treatment.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do For Neck Pain?

A physical therapist (PT) offers a comprehensive approach to treating neck pain. Their treatment methodology is evidence-based, and they combine clinical expertise with individual patient values and circumstances to create an effective treatment plan. Here’s a brief overview of what a physical therapist typically does for neck pain:

  • Assessment & Diagnosis

The PT starts by taking a thorough history of the patient’s symptoms and conducting a physical examination. This often includes assessing the neck’s range of motion, strength, reflexes, and any associated neurological symptoms.

  • Manual Therapy

This hands-on approach involves techniques such as soft tissue massage, joint mobilization, and manipulation to relieve pain, improve circulation, and increase joint flexibility.

  • Therapeutic Exercises

The PT will prescribe specific exercises to strengthen the muscles in and around the neck, improve flexibility, and enhance postural control. These exercises also aim to restore normal movement and function.

  • Postural Training

Poor posture, especially during prolonged sitting or smartphone usage, is a common contributor to neck pain. A PT educates patients about the importance of proper posture and provides strategies and exercises to correct and maintain good postural habits.

  • Pain Management Education

PTs educate patients about pain mechanisms, helping them understand their condition better. This can reduce fear and anxiety related to the pain.

  • Ergonomic Advice

For patients whose neck pain is related to their workplace environment, a PT may provide advice on workstation setups. This includes the proper height and angle for computer monitors, the right chair height, and more.

  • Home Exercise Program

To ensure ongoing recovery and prevention of future pain, PTs often provide patients with a tailored home exercise program.

  • Collaborative Care

If necessary, a physical therapist might collaborate with other healthcare professionals. It will ensure a comprehensive approach to treating neck pain.

By using these approaches and more, physical therapists help patients achieve pain relief, restore function, and prevent the recurrence of neck pain in the long term.

What Are Some Exercises To Help In Neck Pain?

Certainly! If you’re experiencing neck pain, it’s always best to consult with a physical therapist or healthcare professional to ensure you’re doing exercises that are appropriate for your specific situation. However, here are some general exercises that can help alleviate neck pain:

Neck Tilt (Forward and Backward)

Neck Tilt (Forward and Backward)

  • Sit or stand with your back straight.
  • Slowly tilt your head forward until your chin touches your chest.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds.
  • Slowly tilt your head backward and look up toward the ceiling
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds.
  • Repeat a few times.

Neck Turn

Neck Turn

  • Sit or stand with your back straight.
  • Slowly turn your head to one side, bringing your chin over your shoulder.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Shoulder Roll

  • Sit or stand with your back straight.
  • Slowly roll your shoulders in a circular motion, going forward a few times and then backward.

Neck Tilt (Side to Side)

Neck Tilt (Side to Side)

  • Sit or stand with your back straight.
  • Tilt your head to bring your ear towards your shoulder.
  • Avoid lifting the shoulder.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Neck Stretch with Assistance

Neck Stretch with Assistance

  • Sit or stand with your back straight.
  • Place one hand on the side of your head and gently pull your head to the side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Seated Clasping Neck Stretch

  • Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
  • Clasp your hands and bring them to the back of your head.
  • Gently press your head down, aiming to bring your chin to your chest.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds, feeling a stretch along the back of your neck.

Levator Scapulae Stretch

Levator Scapulae Stretch

  • Sit or stand with your back straight.
  • Turn your head to one side and tilt it downward, as if looking to your armpit.
  • You can use your hand to gently press down on your head to deepen the stretch.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Remember, it’s crucial not to force any movement or stretch to the point of pain. These exercises should create a gentle pull and never sharp pain. If you experience any discomfort or are uncertain about the suitability of these exercises, please consult a healthcare professional.

What Are The Benefits Of Physical Therapy For Neck Pain?

Physical therapy offers a multifaceted approach to managing and treating neck pain. Here are some of the primary benefits of undergoing physical therapy for neck pain:

  • Pain Relief

Physical therapists use various modalities, manual therapy techniques, and exercises to directly address the sources of pain, providing both immediate and long-term relief.

  • Improved Mobility

Physical therapy exercises can help restore the range of motion in the neck. And, making daily activities and movements more comfortable.

  • Strengthening

Targeted exercises can strengthen the muscles surrounding the cervical spine, providing better support and reducing the likelihood of future injuries or pain episodes.

  • Posture Correction

One common cause of neck pain is poor posture. Physical therapists can identify postural issues and provide training and strategies to correct and maintain better posture. Especially for individuals who spend long hours at a desk or computer.

  • Avoidance of Surgery

In many cases, physical therapy can effectively treat neck pain, potentially eliminating the need for surgical intervention. Even if surgery is necessary, pre-surgical physical therapy can enhance outcomes.

  • Tailored Treatment

Every individual’s neck pain is unique. Physical therapists develop customized treatment plans tailored to each patient’s specific needs and conditions.

  • Alternative to Medications

While some patients might benefit from medications in conjunction with physical therapy, many find effective relief through therapy alone. Eventually, reducing or eliminating the need for painkillers and their associated side effects.

  • Prevention of Recurrence

With the combination of exercises, education, and strategies taught during physical therapy sessions, patients are better equipped to prevent future episodes of neck pain.

As you can see, physical therapy provides a comprehensive and non-invasive approach to neck pain. Thus, it focuses on the root causes and offers sustainable solutions rather than just symptomatic relief.

How To Find The Right Physical Therapist Near Me?

What Are Some Exercises To Help In Neck Pain?Finding the right physical therapist is crucial for optimal outcomes and a positive therapeutic experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you locate the right physical therapist in your area:

  • Doctor’s Recommendation: Begin by asking your primary care doctor or specialist for recommendations. They often have a list of trusted physical therapists they work with regularly.
  • Insurance Provider: Check with your health insurance provider for a list of in-network physical therapists. This not only ensures that your therapy is covered or at a reduced cost, but these therapists also meet your insurer’s criteria for quality.
  • Search Online: Websites like the American Physical Therapy Association’s “Find a PT” tool can help you locate licensed physical therapists in your area. Make sure to read reviews and ratings, if available.
  • Specialization: Depending on your condition, you might need a therapist who specializes in a particular area. For example, some PTs specialize in orthopedics, while others focus on sports injuries, pediatrics, or neurology.
  • Ask for Recommendations: Friends, family members, or colleagues who’ve undergone physical therapy might provide personal recommendations.
  • Initial Consultation: Many clinics offer a free or discounted initial consultation. This meeting allows you to discuss your concerns with the therapist, understand their approach, and decide if it aligns with your needs.
  • Experience & Qualifications: Research the physical therapist’s background. Are they licensed? How many years of experience do they have? Do they engage in continuous learning or possess any advanced certifications?
  • Flexible Scheduling: Depending on your availability, you might need evening or weekend sessions. Ensure the clinic offers flexible scheduling to accommodate your needs.
  • Cost and Payment Plans: Understand the cost of each session, and what’s covered by insurance. And if the clinic offers any payment plans or discounts for package deals.

By investing a little time in research and considering these factors, you can find a physical therapist that suits your needs. Hence, it will ensure a productive and pleasant therapeutic experience.


In the journey to alleviate neck pain and regain optimal function, physical therapy emerges as an invaluable ally. With a blend of specialized exercises, hands-on techniques, and patient education, it offers a comprehensive approach that addresses both the symptoms and root causes of pain. When selecting a physical therapist, careful consideration ensures a tailored and effective treatment.

By prioritizing our neck health and being proactive in our choices, we pave the way for immediate relief. Also lays the foundation for long-term well-being and a pain-free life. Physical Therapy helps patients recover from pain. If you’re experiencing Back, Shoulder, Knee, Neck, Elbow, Hip, or Arthritis pain, a physical therapist at PhysioMantra can help: Book an online physical therapy session.