What to do About Ongoing Neck Pain


In an age when we spend hours each day looking down at our electronic devices, neck pain is becoming almost as ubiquitous as the devices themselves. In its early stages, neck pain may be barely noticeable, and treatment with ice or NSAIDs can often make it go away. But over time, neck pain may escalate to the point where it can no longer be subdued or ignored.

The neck has more than 20 muscles connected to it, working together to support the  weight of the head and enabling movement through a broad range of motion. Any of the associated muscles may be subject to neck pain, often caused by over-stretching of the muscle fibers, tendons or ligaments of the neck, resulting in small soft tissue tears. Inflammation from tissue damage can sometimes place pressure on neural bodies in the region, leading to even more pain.

Common Causes of Neck Pain

Besides “text neck” from looking at your phone, there are a number of other common causes of neck pain:

  • Trauma: An accident or athletic injury can put strain on the neck muscles and cervical spine as they work to stabilize the head.
  • Poor postural alignment: Holding your head too far forward or at an awkward angle for a duration of time can over-stretch the soft tissues of the neck, resulting in painful neck strain.
  • Inefficient lifting technique: Lifting heavy objects at the gym, on the job or at home can cause neck pain if the neck is not held in proper alignment during the lift.
  • New strenuous activity: Beginning a new or unfamiliar activity, like a new job or exercise program, can cause neck pain. Athletes often suffer neck pain during pre-season training, after taking time off.
  • Repetitive motion injury: Doing the same motion over and over again, even if it is familiar, can lead to neck pain as the muscles fatigue and give way to repetitive stress.

When to Seek Help for Neck Pain

If you have tried resting and icing your neck muscles along with other means of self-care, and pain still persists, it may be time to seek professional help.

You should definitely seek treatment if:

  • Your neck injury is the result of trauma like a fall, collision or car accident.
  • The pain persists or has worsened over the course of several days.
  • You have additional symptoms, including weakness, pain or tingling in your extremities.
  • Your neck pain is accompanied by balance issues.

Conservative Treatment for Neck Pain

Most neck pain can be resolved without surgery or medication. Some non-invasive therapeutic approaches to neck pain include:

  • DNS (dynamic neuromuscular stabilization) therapy
  • Chiropractic manipulation
  • Evaluation and correction of upper body motor control
  • Acupuncture
  • Postural evaluation and retraining
  • Ergonomic work station correction
  • Behavior retraining for device usage
  • Individualized home exercise programming

Physical therapy and chiropractic often offer the best solutions for neck pain, using a melange of therapies and treatments to get to the source of your pain and correct it.

Neck Pain Specialists in NYC

If you are tired of having a pain in the neck, the neck pain specialists at NYDNRehab can help. Our team of sports medicine professionals will make a comprehensive diagnosis and design a treatment plan tailored specifically to your needs. Located in the heart of Manhattan, NYDNRehab is considered one of the foremost rehabilitation clinics in the United States, and the very best in NYC.



In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)


Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)


Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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