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Two Common Reasons You Have Neck Pain (And How to Fix It)

Neck pain is a common complaint of people seeing a physical therapist in Chevy Chase or Bethesda. Although a variety of different factors can cause it, two of the most common explanations of neck pain and discomfort are rib cage stiffness or overtraining.

One effective treatment of neck pain can be to reduce any rib cage stiffness that may be causing a lack of mobility below the neck. The muscles of the upper back and shoulders attach directly to the neck and can cause tension when unable to expand freely. To have pain-free neck mobility, the rib cage must be able to expand 360 degrees.

One simple method to improve rib cage stiffness is with a breathing exercise such as Rockback Breathing off an elevated surface (see below).

Rockback Breathing on a Bench

Another common cause of neck pain in our patients is overtraining. When patients disregard the warning signs and continue to push themselves, there is an increased stress response throughout the body. This causes the accessory respiratory muscles to work harder, thus developing neck stiffness and discomfort.

If overtraining is the issue, it can help take a couple of days to give your body time to rest and recharge. Similarly, it can be invaluable to work directly with a professional to ensure overtraining doesn’t become a long-term issue. Although it’s enticing to continue to train harder, you can usually achieve better results by giving your body more opportunity to recover.

When your neck pain has persisted for longer than a few weeks, it’s time to meet with a professional who can help identify more subtle reasons for the discomfort. If you’re in the Bethesda or Chevy Chase area, our physical therapists can help you get back to living your life pain-free!

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