About That Pain in Your Neck

by Sharon on April 13, 2016

Most people hold at least a little tension in their necks and shoulders. But sometimes even ordinary, every day tension suddenly descends into pain. Maybe you can’t turn your head because of pain and stiffness. Maybe you have pain shooting to your shoulder and arm. Is your sleep affected?

Maybe you’ve decided it’s time to get help and want to know more about it, including who can help. In New York City and New York State you can see a Physical Therapist directly without going to a doctor for a referral. Or you might prefer to see your doctor first to get his advice and impression. Common diagnoses for neck pain are cervical pain, cervical spondylosis, cervical arthritis and cervical radiculopathy.

I’ve made some notes below which I hope will help you on your journey of healing.

The Physical

  • You are getting older and your disks and joints may be injured from misuse, overuse or just stiffness which can come with age. (NB this can be helped.)
  • You have a family history of neck or back problems. Does anyone in your family have degenerative disk disease (DDD) also called Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)? (Don’t worry, these are awful and unfortunate medical names which basically just mean that your body is aging.) Likewise with a family history of cervical radiculopathy, cervical spondylosis and cervical osteoarthritis, you might be at a greater risk of developing neck pain. Genetics.
  • It’s possible you sleep in a way that irritates your neck muscles and joints. Is your pillow too hard, too soft, too high or too low?  Did you sleep on your belly?
  • Overwork or strain from sitting hours at the computer.
  • Slouching.
  • From exercising – too much or too little.
  • You pulled a muscle in your shoulder or neck – not likely.
  • You were in a car accident or you fell and injured your neck. Do you have whiplash?
  • Your have a habit of holding tension in your neck and shoulders – not just a little but a lot. (Do you have a super stressful job or life or both?) Are your shoulders up around your ears?

 The Psychological

  • You hold psychological tension and stress in your neck. See above.
  • You are stressed / angry / sad / mad / anxious / depressed.  John Sarno, MD writes extensively about the  psychological influences, even causes, of our unacknowledged, unconscious, emotions and thoughts on our bodies.
  • You are sticking your neck out, engaging in some new and uncomfortable activities which may be causing you stress.
  • You’re a parent
  • A student
  • You work at a stressful job
  • You don’t have a job
  • You have financial stresses
  • You get the picture.

What to do About It?


Please feel free to contact Sharon Gary for more information or to set up an appointment.

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