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Is Physical Therapy Or Chiropractic Better For Neck Pain?

physical therapist for neck pain

The most common alternative treatment option for chronic neck pain is chiropractic treatment. Most chiropractic sessions for neck pain involve treating pain or stiffness to enable a person to start an exercise program to strengthen the neck muscles and stretch the neck. Compared to physical therapy, chiropractic care differs in terms of the specific exercises and manual stimulation used, as well as the duration of the treatment plan.

When Physical Therapy Treatment May Be Recommended

Physical therapy for the neck can be recommended in a variety of situations, including:

  • Unspecified chronic pain – If neck pain persists or recurs, the exact mechanism or source of the pain can be difficult to diagnose. Without being diagnosed, strengthening the neck muscles may help them support the cervical spine and become less prone to pain and injury.
  • Recovering from injury – Some severe injuries, such as whiplash, can damage the soft tissues and joints of the neck, resulting in stiffness and pain that can extend for weeks or much longer. Regular chiropractic sessions are proven to reduce neck pain and restore normal functioning.
  • Recovering from surgery – Some neck surgeries can cause significant pain and stiffness for up to a year after the surgery. For example, in an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion (ACDF) surgery, there is the fusion of 2 or more vertebrae in the neck, which can alter how some neck and upper back muscles move. In such cases, stiffness, painful spasms, and neck muscle functioning can be improved by chiropractic stimulation and massage.
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