According to a study conducted on adult patients treated at Loyola Medicine’s Pain Management Center, it was reported that women are 1.38 times more likely than men to report neck pain due to cervical degenerative disc. The findings were used to determine if there were any gender differences in the prevalence of cervical and lumbosacral disc disease. It significantly helped add to the growing body of research on the differences in which men and women experience pain.
Previously various studies have found that when compared to males, females especially women with thick necks are more likely to be treated at pain clinics for chronic pain and other painful conditions, such as migraine headaches and fibromyalgia. Various explanations for the causes of this in women have been proposed, including hormonal differences and even the belief that men may be less willing to report pain.
When is Physiotherapy Recommended For Neck Pain?
Once the proper check-up is conducted by a specialized doctor, he/she may refer you to a physical therapist or physiotherapy exercises to help relieve your neck pain and restore the movement. In most patients, physical therapy has been proven to be key to healthy recovery without the need for surgery or steroid injections.
Physical therapy or physiotherapy for women with thick necks might be recommended by doctors in a variety of cases, such as:
1. Unspecified chronic pain:
This is when the neck pain lingers or even keeps recurring, also it might be quite difficult to identify the exact source or mechanism of pain in the neck. Chronic pain is common in women and it not only affects the neck but also other parts of the body. The hormones, puberty, reproductive status, and menstrual cycle also play a pivotal role in affecting pain threshold and perception. For chronic neck pain, increasing the strength of the neck’s muscles may help women to better support the cervical spine and become more resistant to pain and this can be done with physiotherapy in Caledonia.
2. Recovering from injury:
For women with thick necks, problems and injuries most often occur during sports or recreation activities, work-related tasks, or projects around the home. Even injuries, such as whiplash (a neck injury due to rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck) can injure the neck’s soft tissues and joints, which can result in tremendous pain or stiffness that can last for weeks or much longer. A physical therapy program monitored by a specialized physiotherapist can help women in reducing their pain and help them return their neck to normal functioning.
3. Recovering from surgery:
Some surgical procedures performed on the neck can result in significant pain and stiffness in the weeks and months that follow. The surgery could be anything, even a cosmetic surgery or anterior cervical discectomy with fusion (ACDF) surgery that involves the fusion of 2 or more vertebrae in the neck. These surgeries can alter how some neck and upper back muscles move. Therefore, in such cases, you will be able to increase neck function, flexibility and reduce or prevent painful spasms with the guidance of an expert physical therapist.
Physiotherapy Treatments For Neck Pain in Women
The common treatments for women with thick necks include various medications, physical therapy, and massage therapy. Proper physiotherapy exercise includes specific strengthening and stretching for the neck, shoulders, and upper back.
When treating neck pain, the main aim of physical therapy is to significantly enhance the neck’s strength and flexibility. These goals are best achieved through not just exercises but also physiotherapy treatments which are designed to work the neck and surrounding muscles, gradually increasing the workload over time. The type and amount of exercises can vary, and oftentimes both exercises and treatments are combined to bring out the best results.
A physical therapist may provide treatments such as:
1. Deep tissue massage
For women, the tension in the neck could perhaps build up through daily life stress and could lead to chronic muscle tension or pain. With the help of deep tissue massage therapy, the physiotherapist makes use of direct pressure and friction to release the tension in your soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
2. Hot and cold therapies
By using hot and cold pads, a physiotherapist aims to get more blood to the pain area in the neck. This could reduce and overcome neck pain because an enhanced blood flow brings more oxygen and nutrients to that area. Adequate blood circulation is also required to remove waste byproducts that are built up by muscle spasms, and it can also further help in healing.
3. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
For this treatment, the physiotherapist leverages the help of a machine that is capable of stimulating your neck muscles through different intensities of electrical current. These treatments are completely safe and it significantly helps in reducing muscle spasms. It may also play an active role in increasing your body’s production of endorphins, which are your natural painkillers.
4. Traction based physical therapy exercises
As the name indicates, in this therapy the physical therapist will stretch and mobilize the spine so that pain is reduced and you can enjoy better neck flexibility. Physiotherapists can do these exercises manually—the hands-on approach—or by leveraging a mechanical traction device.
Treatments in physical therapy also include exercises.
Your physical therapist will educate you on different exercises that can significantly help in improving your neck flexibility, strength, stability, and range of motion. The physiotherapy programs are individualized based on the doctor’s recommendations and take into consideration the cause and also other health issues in women.
1. Neck stretches and exercises
A physiotherapist will teach you numerous stretches and exercises that can be done with the assistance of a physical therapist or even alone at your home. These exercises and stretches are normally prescribed to train the muscles that attach directly to your cervical spine.
2. Core and back strengthening
Physical therapy is often not only focused on improving neck strength and functioning alone, but it is also helpful for the back and core muscles around the trunk as well. Because all these muscle groups can influence neck pain as they are all part of the spine support.
3. Aerobic activities
Physical therapists recommend aerobic activities for women to provide more flexibility and elevate blood flow as well as breathing levels. Some popular low-impact aerobic activities that do not jostle the spine are cycling and swimming.
4. Aquatic exercise
The buoyancy of water in aquatic exercises can help women take pressure off their spine while still enabling the muscles to work. If you are suffering from severe neck pain or if the pain is accompanied by the shoulder and/or back pain then aquatic exercise might be implemented by physiotherapists.
Sometimes, it can be difficult for women to continuously take part in exercise sessions; such challenges can be eliminated with physiotherapy because a physical therapist can develop a home program that patients can perform on their own. Also, it is imperative that working women learn proper posture and have an ergonomic station for their computer to reduce significant neck and lower back pains. A physical therapist will also analyze your home and work environments, giving you tips on how you can protect yourself from neck pain and reduce already existing pain.