Pain in the neck: A one-minute test and how to fix it

Neck pain 2Do you find yourself massaging your neck throughout the day? Do you try to move your neck as little as possible as not to bother it? At Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy, we help many people with pain in the neck. In some instances, the pain may travel into the shoulder, elbow, hand, chest, or shoulder blade.  For successful treatment and successful pain relief to occur, we must first find out what is causing the problem.

It is common for physical therapists to first look at how well a person with pain in the neck can move. If you suffer from pain in the neck, take this one-minute test at home to see how well you can move.

PicMonkey Collage 2One-minute test for neck pain: 

  1. Sit up with your back straight in a chair.
  2. Move your head up as far as you can.
  3. Move your head down as far as you can.
  4. Turn your head to the left as far as you can.
  5. Turn your head to the right as far as you can.
  6. Raise your right arm straight up as high as you can.
  7. Raise your left arm straight up as high as you can.

Most people with neck pain will feel limitation or restriction with one of these six movements.  For example, when looking down, many people will feel a tightness at the base of their neck or between their shoulder blades.  When turning the head side to side, it may be much easier to turn one direction than the other. If this happens, this usually means there is hope for successful outcomes with the right physical therapy treatment.

If you felt pain during the one minute test, your next goal is to reduce the pain.  If the pain is reproducible (meaning a movement brings on the symptoms), then there is usually hope.  Good treatment first restores the movement, and good physical therapists use various forms of hands-on treatment to achieve this. For instance, we’ve seen many who have trouble turning their head to the left.  We do a hands-on treatment at their first visit to help restore normal movement and then ask the person to try to turn their head to the left again.  After just one visit, most people will notice better movement and less pain. If we have done this, we have helped address the source of the problem.

So now what?

Perform the one minute test at home.  Note any tightness, pain, tingling or limited motion you have. If you have limited motion and would like to find out how to reduce your pain, please call us to schedule a free Kinetic Screen to see if physical therapy is right for you.

  • Pella: 641-621-0230
  • Des Moines: 515-309-4706
  • Oskaloosa: 641-676-3535
  • Newton: 641-791-9675
  • Ames: 515-337-1037

If you had discomfort or difficulty moving with any of the tests from above and want to learn some simple exercises for neck pain, simply email us telling where you experienced the problem. We’ll send you a simple home exercise that is specifically designed to help you move better, feel better, and function better.