head and neck injuries

Painful Conditions of the Head and Neck

Prairie Rehabilitation has therapists with specialty training in the treatment of head and neck pain including treatment of whiplash, tension headaches, and jaw pain.  Our therapists will work with you to reduce inflammation, improve posture, address lifestyle changes, restore muscle imbalance, and improve flexibility.

NECK PAIN

Physical therapy for back and neck conditions focuses on the structures that support the spine including muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Pain originating in the neck can cause pain in your shoulders, ribs, chest, upper back, or head.

Your physical therapist will conduct a thorough examination that will include a review of your health history. This may include a questionnaire asking you to recall any past injuries, location, nature and behavior of your current symptoms and medical diagnoses that may impact your therapy program. You can expect a physical examination that includes evaluation of your strength, flexibility, and posture. Your physical therapist, with your input, will design a plan of care that meets your needs.

A typical plan of therapy would focus initially on acute pain relief and to managing inflammation.  At the same time, your team will be working with you to restore flexibility through gentle exercises and treatment called manual therapy. As you improve, strengthening of weak muscles to restore muscle balance will be introduced. Addressing underlying changes to the foundation of your movement may include postural exercises, improving body mechanics during your daily activities and ongoing education to empower you as a member of the team to work on current issues and to help you prevent future occurrences.

TENSION HEADACHES

According to the American Physical Therapy Association, a tension-type headache typically begins at the back of the head and spreads to the top of the head and the eyes. People often describe tightness, a sensation of someone tugging on their hair, pressure or pain behind their eyes, or a feeling of wearing a tight cap. These headaches can worsen with specific positions–such as sitting at a desk–and may ease with rest. They can last from a few minutes to a few days.

Your physical therapist will conduct a thorough examination that will include a review of your health history. This may include a questionnaire asking you to recall any past injuries, location, nature and behavior of your current symptoms and medical diagnoses that may impact your therapy program. You can expect a physical examination that includes evaluation of your strength, flexibility, and posture. If it appears you have tension headaches, your physical therapist, with your input, will design a plan of care that meets your needs.

A typical plan of treatment for tension headaches would be to focus upon correcting problems identified in your evaluation. This often includes restoring normal movement, addressing muscle strength and tightness imbalances and optimizing static and dynamic posture. Treatment may include education, passive modalities for addressing acute pain, exercises, manual therapy techniques or biofeedback.

WHIPLASH

Whiplash is a sudden extension (backward movement of the neck) and flexion (forward movement of the neck) of the cervical spine. This type of trauma is also referred to as a cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) injury. Rear-end or side-impact motor vehicle collisions are the number one cause of whiplash with injury to the muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, and discs of the cervical spine.

Your physical therapist will conduct a thorough examination that will include a review of your health history.  This may include a questionnaire asking you to recall any past injuries, location, nature and behavior of your current symptoms and medical diagnoses that may impact your therapy program.  You can expect a physical examination that includes evaluation of your strength, flexibility, sensation and posture.

Your plan of therapy will focus initially on acute pain relief and to manage inflammation.  At the same time, your team will be working with you to restore flexibility through gentle exercises and treatment called manual therapy.  As you improve, strengthening of weak muscles to restore muscle balance will be introduced.  Addressing underlying changes to the foundation of your movement may include postural exercises, improving body mechanics during your daily activities and ongoing education to empower you as a member of the team to work on current issues and to help you prevent future occurrences.

Your rate of recovery helps determine the length of time you will be in physical therapy.  Recovery time is different for each person and depends on the severity of your symptoms and the amount of damage to your head, neck and body.