Disc disease of the cervical spine, where one or more discs between the vertebrae become abnormal or diseased, can sometimes be treated at home with simple interventions. Often, however, the best route to treat your neck pain is to go to a physical therapist that can strengthen and stretch your neck, improve your posture, and prevent relapses. Consider seeing a chiropractor as well. The majority of people can feel relief after a single visit and be able to move again after exercising and spinal manipulation by these health care providers.
Physical therapists and chiropractors will give you a complete evaluation before treating you. A neck movement evaluation will be conducted. If you experience symptoms such as pain between your shoulder blades or in the neck, pain radiating down your arm or fingers, or feeling numb or tingly in your shoulder or arm, you may be asked about them. The test will check your strength, reflexes, and possible causes of pain. In addition to assessing joint function in your back and neck, the therapist or chiropractor will assess which limitations or dysfunctions are contributing to your pain.
Strengthen, stretch, and straighten up
Your chiropractor or physical therapist can perform several types of manipulations to reduce stiffness, strengthen the surrounding muscles, and restore the function of your neck. Prior to exercise, electrical stimulation, cold or heat applications, ultrasound, and deep tissue massage can be used.
Physical therapy involves stretching and strengthening the muscles that support your neck. It will also help you improve your posture and range of motion. You may be asked to stand in front of a mirror during exercise so that you can watch your mistakes.
Physiatrists and chiropractors use many of the same techniques. Adjustments may help relieve neck pain and restore normal neck function. Chiropractors manipulate the neck and thoracic joints in a similar way to physical therapists to facilitate movement and relieve stiffness. Patients with vascular problems in the neck, such as osteoarthritis or carotid artery stenosis, might find these adjustments unsuitable and potentially risky.
Cervical disc disease and neck traction
Physical therapists use cervical traction to provide pain relief and to improve mobility. By gently extending the neck, traction opens the space between the cervical vertebrae, temporarily relieving pressure on the affected discs. The neck can either be tractioned continuously for longer periods of time or intermittently for short periods followed by resting periods.
Cervical traction can also be done at home. A pulley system can be attached to a doorway, or you can use devices that allow you to traction your neck while lying down. It’s important to see your physical therapist or chiropractor before you do cervical traction on your own, to ensure that you buy the right equipment and know how it’s set up properly.
Cervical Collars and Pillows for Cervical Disc Disease
During sleep, cervical pillows are designed to immobilize the neck partially. However, no research supports cervical pillows’ effectiveness. To find out the best treatment, check with your physical therapist.
As much as they stabilize the neck, soft cervical collars serve as reminders to use good posture and range of motion techniques. The rigid cervical collar does immobilize the neck, but it is uncomfortable to use for long periods of time.