The spine is made up of 33 vertebrae. The first seven vertebrae constitute the cervical spine. In addition to the cervical bones, the neck has an extensive anatomy of nerves, discs, muscles, ligaments and tendons. The neck has the most range of motion of the entire spine and has a wide range of functions including housing and protecting the spinal cord, facilitating blood flow to the brain, and supporting the head and its movement. Since the neck is so complex, the cervical spine is at risk for developing a number of painful conditions due to minor trauma or even normal daily activities. These conditions include degenerative disc disease, displaced or herniated disc, stenosis, osteoarthritis or muscle strain. These conditions can then lead to a number of impairments including pain, headaches, stiffness, and numbness and tingling into the head and arms.
Your Physical Therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation to determine which structure is causing your pain and develop a treatment plan. This plan will include any combination or all of the following: therapeutic exercise, manual therapy, electric stimulation, hot and cold therapy, functional training, joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization and cardiovascular exercise.