How Physical Therapists Treat Neck Pain

How Physical Therapists Treat Neck Pain

physical therapist treating neck pain on woman

Nowadays, when working from home or sitting in front of a computer has become the new normal, problems like neck pain are more prevalent. As per a recent study, around 30–50% of the adult population in the United States are affected by chronic neck pain. The American Physical Therapy Association also found that neck pain is fairly common these days and affects 22–70% of people at some point in their lifetime.

Neck pain is not an ordinary problem when it restricts your movement and starts affecting your day-to-day life. Some people might think surgery is the only solution, but it is expensive and requires a lot of post-surgery care. Moreover, not every case is severe enough to warrant surgery. 

Is there another solution for chronic neck pain? 

Physical therapy has become a preferred choice among patients with neck pain, thanks to its natural and lasting results. 

Many people don’t know what to expect from physical therapy and how it helps treat neck pain. In this article, we’ll discuss how physical therapists treat neck pain and what to expect from physical therapy sessions. 

How Does the Neck Pain Feel? What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

People suffering from a neck ailment may experience stiffness in the neck muscles and mobility issues in addition to neck pain. Most people describe neck pain as sharp, dull, stabbing, aching, tingling, or throbbing. If you feel any of these sensations around your neck while resting or when you move it, this could be because of chronic neck pain. 

The symptoms of neck pain majorly depend on its location and how long you have been battling with it. Some common signs of neck pain include:

  • Difficulty looking up and over the shoulder 
  • Muscle spasms 
  • Weak shoulder muscles and arms 
  • Inability to rotate or bend the neck.

Where is the Pain Felt?

You may feel neck pain in different locations, making it difficult to figure out where the exact problem lies. Some people say they feel the pain directly in the back of the neck, while some feel pain on one side of the neck. Sometimes the pain is concentrated at the base of the skull, while other times it spreads from ear to shoulder.

Pain from your neck might also be felt in other areas, including the shoulder blade and upper back. If the nerve present in the neck gets irritated, it may cause pain in the arms and hands. You may also experience tingling or numbness in your shoulder, arms, or hands. 

It is essential to discuss all your symptoms with your physical therapy provider so that they can understand your condition and provide you with the right treatment plan to reduce neck pain.

What Causes Neck Pain?

There are factors that can result in chronic neck pain. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine the root cause of the pain, making it even more challenging for people to get it treated.

Even if the cause is unknown, physical therapies can help strengthen the neck muscles while improving the range of motion and reducing the pain. According to our expert neck pain therapists, some common causes of chronic pain in the neck include:


An injury is one of the most common causes of long-lasting, chronic neck pain. These injuries include anything from whiplash to a fracture. Even small injuries caused while sleeping can lead to neck pain if not treated on time.

Postural Neck Pain 

These days, most cases of neck pain are a result of poor posture. Bad sitting and sleeping habits can put immense pressure on the cervical spine, resulting in neck pain.

Spinal Stenosis 

Spinal stenosis occurs when the space inside the backbone is too small. People with this condition can experience pressure on the spine and the nerves that travel through it. Spinal stenosis mostly affects the neck and can result in shooting neck pain.

Neck Arthritis

Aging doesn’t only reflect on the outside of the body, but it also affects the inside. As people get older, they experience a breakdown in the protective cartilage in the cervical spine. Medical practitioners term this condition “cervical spondylosis.”


Several neck surgeries involving the fusion of the neck vertebrae can cause chronic pain, which can last for weeks or months.

At the Oak Brook Medical Group, we have a team of experienced physical therapists that can help alleviate neck pain. No matter what’s causing neck pain, our therapists can help reduce it while improving your range of motion.

Call us today at 630-317-7478 to schedule a new patient exam, and start your journey to end neck pain.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do for Neck Pain Relief?

Physical therapists are movement experts who can help diagnose and alleviate neck pain through prescribed exercises and the use of several modalities. Physical therapy can also improve the neck’s flexibility while enhancing the range of motion by making the muscles more flexible and stronger.

Physical therapists at Oak Brook Medical Group will design a therapy program explicitly for your case. For example, if you are experiencing pain in the neck, the therapist will determine the cause of the pain and make a plan depending on your medical condition.

Physical therapy is a fantastic treatment approach because it treats the pain’s root cause, offering lasting results. Unlike some other medical practitioners, physical therapists work for neck pain with the following goals in mind:

  • Relief from chronic pain 
  • Reduced neck stiffness
  • Improved daily functions
  • Stronger and more flexible neck muscles 
  • Prevention of future neck issues

Besides these, the goals of a physical therapist may include improving endurance and posture and reducing the need for surgery. 

Oak Brook Medical Group provides the best physical therapy for neck pain with an aim of improving your quality of life. We make a unique plan for every patient based on their medical conditions and provide them with the care and attention they need. 

Benefits of Physical Therapy for Neck Pain – Is It Better than Other Treatments?

Neck pain can take a toll on your everyday life. It is natural to want a solution that can reduce or terminate the pain permanently. Physical therapy may take some time to be effective – the patient often needs to have a few therapy sessions to experience the results. However, some people think that physical therapy is better than other treatments.

Here are some benefits you can experience with physical therapy for neck pain. Some of these benefits are exclusive to physical therapy. 

Reduction in Pain and Other Symptoms 

Physical therapists commence the process by discovering the root cause of the pain. Once you know what causes the chronic pain, your journey toward healing will begin. These experts will use a set of different techniques and treatments to reduce the pain and the symptoms. 

Moreover, physical therapists can teach you several movements you can do at home to instantly reduce acute neck pain when it flares up. Watch this video to see examples of how our physical therapist helps treat neck pain and tightness.

Improved Posture 

Poor posture is a leading cause of neck pain and is mainly a result of sleeping or sitting improperly. While other treatments, such as medicines, only work to provide relief from neck pain, physical therapy offers a combined benefit of relief and prevention. 

Physical therapists can use active and passive therapies to reduce stiffness in the neck muscles, which will improve posture gradually.

Here’s a video on the best way to sleep, as explained by one of our physical therapy experts.

Enhanced Muscle Flexibility and Strength

Physical therapists can determine if the issue is with any particular muscle or group of muscles. They will work specifically on those muscles to build strength and improve motion.

The therapists then make an exercise program by compiling the issues related to muscles in order to help your get pain relief and become stronger. 

Reduced Need for Surgery 

While physical therapy for neck pain is not a sure-shot alternative to surgery, it surely does reduce the pain. However, it should be avoided if impossible. Physical therapists can design an individualized treatment plan to help reduce chronic neck pain. 

In some cases, these plans can help relieve the pain. As a result, taking physical therapies for neck pain can minimize, if not eliminate the need for surgery. 

No Frequent Visits 

One of the biggest perks of physical therapy includes that you don’t have to go to the therapy center every day. Instead, expert physical therapists for neck pain can teach you some exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles yourself between sessions, which also helps reduce the pain.

If you perform the exercises as prescribed by the therapist, you can expect quicker recovery and reduced neck pain.

Cheaper than surgery 

Neck surgeries can be exorbitant, and of course, there is a much higher risk involved. On the other hand, physical therapies are more affordable, plus you don’t have to spend money on the hospital bed and additional charges. 

Oak Brook Medical Group can help you say goodbye to neck pain. We are a team of expert physical therapists in Illinois you can hire today. Call us at 630-317-7478 to schedule an appointment, and prevent neck pain from recurring or further injury.

When to Seek Physical Therapy for Neck Pain?

Most people think that physical therapy is a last resort and continue taking medications to find relief. However, this can worsen the situation, and you may actually experience more chronic pain. 

Neck pain, if not treated correctly in a timely manner, can quickly spread to other areas of the body, including the shoulders, head, and arms. You may also feel numbness or tingly sensations in the hands. 

When should you see a physical therapist in Illinois?

Physical Therapists Treat Neck Pain

You Experience Neck Pain Frequently 

It’s common to experience neck pain after an especially long and tiring day. However, if you experience the pain frequently, like every day, you should see a doctor and seek physical therapy. 

Your Neck Doesn’t Move as It Should 

Neck pain affects the movement of your neck because muscles get stiff and fail to stretch, resulting in reduced natural movement. If you are unable to rotate your neck or you feel neck or shoulder pain while moving your head, you should reach out to a physical therapist and set up an appointment.

You Have SUFFERED an Injury 

Whether you have suffered a fall or have been in a car accident, injury can lead to chronic neck pain. You should head to a physical therapist to see how they can help. While you should always first see a doctor if you are injured, you can seek physical therapy to reduce chronic pain.

You Want to Live a Pain-free Life 

Even if you experience no pain in the neck, you can opt for physical therapy to strengthen the neck muscles and improve their flexibility. Prevention is always better than treatment, and physical therapists at the Oak Brook Medical Group are here to help.

What to Expect from Physical Therapy for Neck Pain?

Knowing what to expect from physical therapy for neck pain is imperative to understanding the outcomes better. Physical therapy is an amazing and natural solution to neck pain. However, it requires the therapists to follow a unique approach that begins with finding the cause of the pain. 

Below we have explained how the process works to set the right expectations.

The Evaluation Phase: What Happens Before the Treatment?

This phase includes evaluating several parts of your neck and body to find the root cause of the pain. The physical therapist will do several tests, and you can expect plenty of questions. Here are a few things that happen in the initial stage:

Posture Analyzation 

Posture can lead to neck pain so physical therapists pay special attention to it. They may ask you to stand or sit naturally in front of them to see if something is wrong with your posture. The therapists note down the problems in your posture in order to design an individualized treatment plan for you. They might give you tips to maintain good posture on your own.

Range of Motion (ROM)

Next, the therapist analyses the range of motion in your neck. Some professionals use tools like a goniometer to measure the ROM. The quality of the motion is also analyzed during this test.

Strength of the Muscles 

If you are experiencing pain in the arms or hands originating from the neck, the therapist may also measure the strength of your muscles. Therapists determine the nature of weakness to make a more detailed treatment plan that works for you. 

Functional Mobility 

If you have chronic neck pain, the physical therapist may ask you a few questions to understand your abilities and limitations. Moreover, the therapist may also ask you to do certain movements to assess the overall functional mobility.

Tenderness to Touch 

Physical therapists will gently touch your neck with their hands to determine if the muscles are sore or stiff. If required or when the cause of the neck pain is the spine, therapists can push and bend your spine to determine spinal mobility. 

Once your physical therapists gather the required information, they compile and analyze it in order to create an individualized treatment plan. There are two ways patients with neck pain receive physical therapy after the examination and analysis are done.

The Treatment Phase: Active and Passive Treatment 

Depending upon the cause of the neck pain, physical therapists employ a variety of techniques to treat you. The physical therapy treatment methods include active and passive treatments.

Active Treatment 

Active physical therapy involves several exercises and movements performed on your body to improve the muscles’ strength and flexibility. Moreover, active physical therapy helps reduce pain and is beneficial for correcting neck posture.

Physical Therapists Treat Neck Pain

Some steps of the active treatment include: 


Studies indicate that regular exercise can help minimize pain while improving the posture of the neck. Your physical therapist will design a plan with several exercises that you need to do with their help or at home on your own. 

Postural Correction 

If sitting or standing posture is the cause of neck pain, the therapist will help correct the posture using several exercises. In addition, therapists may use a special lumbar support roller to correct encourage proper posture. 


Traction includes separating the joint surface in the neck to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness. Expert physical therapists at the Oak Brook Medical Group perform traction on your neck upon the recommendation of your neurosurgeon or orthopedist.

Traction is highly beneficial for treating neck arthritis, herniated disc, and other common causes of neck pain. 

Passive Treatment 

Passive treatments don’t require the patient to make any effort. Physical therapists use several techniques, such as massage and heat therapy, to minimize neck pain. The main goal of passive physical therapy treatment is to heal pain and reduce swelling.

Physical Therapists Treat Neck Pain

Common passive treatments for neck pain include:


Massage is a fantastic way to reduce soreness and tightness in the neck muscles. Moreover, it helps decrease muscle tension while improving the range of motion.

Cryotherapy and Thermotherapy 

These therapies include the use of ice and heat to help relax the neck muscles and reduce inflammation. 

Therapeutic Modalities 

Therapeutic modalities, such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS, are given to a patient to treat neck pain. Physical therapists in Illinois may use ultrasounds along with TENS for better results. 

Our physical therapists for neck pain will develop a plan with a combination of active and passive treatments. We make a specific treatment plan for every patient to address their medical condition and to help them get the maximum benefit and desired outcome. 

What Kind of Physical Therapist Do You Need? How to Find One?

Although physical therapists are trained to address several problems throughout the body, it would be great to find one that offers physical therapy specifically for neck pain. The therapist should have a deep understanding of the anatomy of the neck so they can determine the root cause of the problem and create an effective treatment plan.

Fortunately, finding a good physical therapist for neck pain in Illinois is easy with the following tips:

  • Search for a physical therapist that’s near your home so you can make regular visits. Choose Oak Brook Medical Group if you live in Oak Brook, IL, or the surrounding area. 
  • Ask the physical therapist about their experience in helping patients with neck pain. 
  • Tour the facility and ask them to show you the equipment they use to treat neck pain and related medical conditions. At Oak Brook Medical Group, we have a multi-specialty treatment center that treats different medical conditions such as neck pain, sciatica, headache, whiplash, and more. 

The Ultimate Neck Pain Relief: Call Oak Brook Medical Group Now

Oak Brook Medical Group has provided transformative physical therapy for neck pain to clients of all ages. We work with a mission of helping to minimize neck pain, but ultimately treat the root cause of the issue for long-lasting relief. 

Our physical therapy experts design and follow a holistic approach to treatment for every patient and track their progress at every step. Moreover, our therapists will teach you several exercises, such as neck stretches, that you can perform at home to experience relief from reoccurring neck pain. 

You will find a fun and supportive atmosphere at our facilities. Our doctors and physical therapists take good care of each and every patient.

It’s high time to do something about your neck pain before it becomes untreatable or necessitates surgery. Fill out our new patients form to tell us more about your problem or call us at 630-317-7478 to book an appointment.

Our experienced therapists will examine to you to learn about the issue and design a unique physical therapy program that works for you. Neck pain will soon be a thing of the past!