Neck Pain? Stiff Neck?

Neck pain can be scary especially when it affects your ability to turn your head, look down, or hold your head up in normal posture. A stiff neck is typically associated with neck pain and other symptoms. Many times patients wake up and they can’t move their neck; “it’s stuck”. This similar to a wry neck; the neck is obstructed in movement and has pain associated with it. Chiropractors and physical therapy can help neck pain or neck stiffness. There are many neck pain exercises and stretches that people can do; just make sure you are doing the correct ones that are appropriate to your neck pain and stiffness. Severe neck pain can lead to arm pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness.


Neck Pain most commonly occurs because of mechanical irritation to the disc or nerve. It sounds scary but it is significantly common to see some form of degenerative process in the neck or disc bulge.  The repetitive activity and daily posture influence the cervical spine and may irritate the disc or nerve to produce pain and other symptoms. However, most neck pain will resolve in a few weeks with conservative care or collaborative care with anti-inflammatory medication. Appropriate neck pain exercises are given to patients to help reduce symptoms and reduce the arm pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness. Other causes people will report include sleeping funny, turning funny, or moving differently causing neck pain or stiffness. This makes activities like driving difficult. It affects ability to check the blind spot and also affects activities such as answering the phone, and sleeping becomes disturbed. Having pain at work also makes it difficult to concentrate. Neck pain can be very challenging affecting many parts of our daily life.


Neck pain can present various ways including episodes of headaches. Commonly, we see patients that worsen and have the neck pain travel down the arm or both arms. Patients search videos on the internet and perform the wrong neck pain exercises leading to shooting arm pain. Having arm pain as a result of a disc bulge or pinched nerve can be severe. The prognosis of the neck condition is demonstrated in how far pain travels away from the spine. This term is called peripheralization. It is when pain from the neck travels to the arm and presents in the following presentations:

  • Neck Pain shooting to the shoulder blade
  • Neck pain shooting to the shoulder blade, upper arm
  • Neck pain shooting to the shoulder blade, upper arm, and forearm
  • Neck pain shooting to the shoulder blade, upper arm, forearm, and hand

Other symptoms that may be present are tingling, numbness, pins and needles, or weakness. During a neurological exam, we test the patients ability to feel soft or sharp sensations on hand, forearm, arm, and shoulder. We test the strength of the hand, forearm, arm, shoulders, and neck. We utilize tools like a dynamometer which measures the poundage of grip strength.

Neck Pain Exercises & Treatments

Using specific forms of physical therapy we can begin to reduce neck pain and neck stiffness with McKenzie Therapy. McKenzie Therapy is a specific form of physical therapy that shows the patient correct neck pain exercises. These exercises can be performed by the patient at home, work, or anywhere else. The convenience of these neck pain exercises are that they are specific to the neck pain presentation. Neck pain behaves differently for everyone. Therefore, we have to determine which directions in moving using specific neck pain exercises to make it feel better. We also identify which directions make it feel worse. Mobilizing the thoracic spine dramatically improves neck mobility because of the kyphotic nature of the thoracic region and poor posture seen in the population. We are located in Crown Point and typically have same day appointments. We understand when you hurt, you want to feel better quickly. This is why we teach our patients to learn how to self treat with individualized neck pain exercises to prevent recurrences from neck pain.

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