Pain in the upper spine and neck – an area known as the cervical spine – is a common cause of disability. Everyone is susceptible. According to the National Safety Council, 90 percent of spine problems stem from prolonged poor posture or repeated musculoskeletal strain, regardless of occupation or recreation.
Through comprehensive evaluation and upper back treatment and personalized education, the goal of the UpperSpine Program is to bring each patient to an optimal level of physical activity and function, with minimal pain.
Comprehensive upper back evaluation
To help determine the source of pain and the best approach to treatment, a trained and experienced physical therapist will first conduct an objective evaluation. The therapist assesses the patient’s ability to stabilize and protect the neck, as well as his/her functional movement and overall condition, flexibility and strength.
Conditions commonly treated that cause upper spine pain
Although most upper spine pain is caused by repeated neck strain or minor injuries, the cervical spine also is susceptible to degenerative problems. Conditions commonly treated in the UpperSpine Program include herniated discs, headaches, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, spondylosis and whiplash.
Customized upper back treatment
The causes of upper spine pain are as individual as the people who experience it. Therefore, treatment in the UpperSpine Program is equally as individual. Treatment plans may incorporate a broad range of methods, including:
- Stretching and stabilization exercises
- Muscle strengthening
- Spine, soft tissue and joint mobilization
- Aerobic/cardiovascular conditioning
- Diaphragmatic breathing techniques
- Strategies to manage pain
Education for care of the upper spine
From day one, participants in the UpperSpine Program are learning about the cause of their problem and how to manage it. They receive information on home exercise programs, as well as strategies to control and protect the spine while doing everyday activities.
The Neck Disability Index is used to measure the functional improvement of each person in the UpperSpine Program. At initial evaluation and again at discharge, patients complete a series of questions, ranging from pain intensity and personal care to traveling and social activities. The answers are scored and used to assess the patients’ perceived level of functional improvement. These outcomes are shares with each participant and his or her physician.