I never thought of myself as an addict, but I did end up addicted to anti-anxiety medication after developing Generalized Anxiety Disorder. At some point, the medicine stopped being a way to deal with the nervousness and panic attacks, and became something my body craved. I knew that I needed help fast. Fortunately, a local drug rehab program includes support for people like me. They helped me wean off the medication, use methods like massage therapy to help my nerves heal, and even provided ongoing counseling for our family. I don't know how I would have made it without their help. If you suspect that your medication has crossed the line from being helpful to hurtful, take heart. Let me tell you about my journey out of addiction and back to wholeness.
If you've experienced a neck strain so severe that it hurts to move, the thought of active physical therapy is even more painful. You need something to loosen up your neck and reduce the pain before you can start stretching out those tense neck muscles. Your doctor can give you anti-inflammatory pain medications to help. They can also prescribe one or more of the following passive physical therapy techniques to relax your neck muscles to give you even more relief.
Warm and Cold Packs
The physical therapist can alternate warm and cold packs on your neck. This will have the following effects:
By alternating the warm and cold packs on your neck, pain and swelling goes away as the muscle fibers lose their tension.
A hand-held device is used to send sound waves deep into the muscle tissues in your neck. These ultrasonic waves heat up the muscles where a warm pack won't reach. The warmth relaxes the muscles and decreases inflammation by increasing the blood flow through the muscles.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
Electrode pads are placed on the skin over the muscle groups in your neck. A small electrical charge is sent through the electrodes into your muscles. The therapist adjusts the electrical current until you feel less pain in your neck. TENS units work by blocking the signal from pain receptors in your muscles to the brain. Without the signal, your brain doesn't react to the muscle tension and your muscles can begin to relax. The TENS sessions will initially be done in your doctor's office or physical therapy clinic. Once your response to the TENS treatment has been measured, you may be sent home with a portable TENS unit to help with painful flare-ups in your neck.
Using their hands, the therapist puts pressure on tense muscles to encourage them to relax. Massage stimulates circulation and decreases inflammation. As the muscles relax, painful spasms go away. The therapist may use a warm pack on your neck before the massage to limber up the muscles. They can then use a cold pack after the massage to reduce any tendency for inflammation to develop as a result of the treatment.
Passive Physical Therapy
With the neck muscles relaxed through warm packs and massage, the therapist will attempt to move your neck through its normal range of motion. This will stretch out tense muscle fibers that are causing you pain. It will get rid of your neck stiffness and allow you to move your neck again.
These non-invasive techniques will give you some relief from your painful neck muscles. Once the pain has been reduced, you can start active physical therapy to recondition those muscles to support your neck and prevent future strains.Share