It's not everyday that you wake up feeling completely free of stress and pain. Unless you took the opportunity to completely rest during our recent three-day weekend, it's very likely that you're feeling the after effects of being active!
It’s not everyday that you wake up feeling completely stress free! However, being active has been the age old cure to combatting bad stress in your life. You’ll notice that after a fun-packed weekend your energy is revitalized to start off your week feeling great!
Yet even after such an active weekend you might return to your desk job, week by week you start to notice sharp neck pain. When you stretch from side to side or roll your head forwards or backwards, you feel pain. It might be steady pain that sharpens with sudden movements, or simply constant pain no matter what you do. You might also experience trouble performing simple arm and hand movements. Does it only feel better when you lift your arm above your head? If you think you fall under any of these categories you might want to look into a condition called Cervical Radiculopathy.
What is Cervical Radiculopathy?
Yes, I know! It is a very long name. The condition is defined as severe upper body pain that is the product of a pinched nerve. If you remember anything from your biology courses when you were younger, you know that nerves are the cells that sense changes in your environment. Nerves travel from the brain, through the spine, and down to extreme body parts like the toes and fingers.
A pinched nerve, then, is a sensory cell that is putting up with extra pressure. If you slouch or have bad posture, that puts even more pressure on the pinched nerve, which then leads to more pain.
Physical Therapy can help the problem!
I see a lot of patients with this problem. It is almost more often than not caused by bad posture or a sedentary work station. And every time someone comes into the clinic I notice that they were completely unaware of the cause of their problem.
In the beginning pain management is the best first step! When you notice similar pain symptoms to the ones I’ve described, you should ice the area every 2-3 hours for at least one to two days. This process reduces swelling. Later you can use moist heat to relax the muscles.
In all cases of patients coming into the clinic with neck pain, I do a lot of manual manipulation. From my 30 years of experience as a physical therapist this is one of the most effective ways to work out the cause of your discomfort. I teach you about proper posture and demonstrate exercises meant to immediately improve your range of motion.
Last but not least, I talk to you about strengthening exercises. If you've been experiencing this pain for a long time, chances are you've avoided certain types of movements that hurt your arms or hands in the longrun. To prevent muscle weakness, I teach you exercises to help you safely regain strength in your upper body, until you are once again at full function!