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Physical therapy for neck pain may include the following treatments:

Exercise: Patients may be taught a series of exercises to help the body’s flexibility, stability, range of motion, and strength. Depending on various factors such as age and medical history, exercises vary from patient to patient.

Hot and Cold Therapy: Heat increases circulation to affected areas—in this case, the neck—which increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients in order to speed healing. Increased circulation also assists with the removal of waste byproducts. Cold therapy accomplishes the opposite: it slows circulation in order to reduce inflammation, pain, and muscle spasms. Often, treatment involves alternating between the two extremes.

Massage: Neck pain is sometimes the result of stress and tension. Massage, including deep tissue massage, applies direct pressure to the soft tissues to release tension and pain.

Electrotherapy: Patients with neck pain can benefit from electrotherapy; this technique assists with tissue repair and can help improve mobility. It is particularly helpful in reducing pain, edema (swelling), muscle spasms, and muscle weakness.

Traction: Because restoring movement and flexibility is a priority in neck pain treatment plans, traction is often used to stretch the spine to mobilize the area and lessen pain. Traction works by removing pressure on the nerves.

Ultrasound: Ultrasound reaches deep into the muscle tissues with sound waves that boost circulation and healing by creating heat. Pain, stiffness, cramping, and muscle spasms are reduced with ultrasound.

Low Level Laser Therapy: Laser therapy can be extremely helpful for patients with neck pain in that it speeds up cellular production for faster healing. Low level laser therapy also prevents the formation of scar tissue and can increase circulation.