How can PT help if you feel neck pain when looking down?

neck pain when looking down

Has a persistent feeling of pain in your neck been a source of physical and mental discomfort lately? Neck pain is a common condition that affects nearly 80% of people in the U.S. at some point during their lives. Despite its commonality, neck pain can be highly disruptive to everyday tasks. Left unmanaged, it can lead to difficulty performing even small movements, like looking up or down. It’s important to identify the root cause and pursue physical therapy treatment if this becomes the case. 


What are some of the top causes of neck pain when looking down?


Common causes of experiencing neck pain when looking down include:


  • Muscle tension — Muscle tension can cause neck pain when looking downward. Areas of tight and dense muscle in the neck, shoulders and head can lead to limited mobility and significant discomfort in the neck during movement. Someone with muscle stiffness might be unable to move their head and neck in the same capacity as someone else would until their muscle tension is relieved. In some cases, balls of muscle tension can place pressure on nerves, which could even lead to neck pain that occurs when looking down. 


  • Herniated disc — Another potential cause of neck pain when looking down is a herniated disc. This condition involves the nucleus of a spinal disc slipping or rupturing out of the disc. Oftentimes, this nucleus will press up against a nerve in the spine and cause pain, tingling or numbness. Nerve compression from a herniated disc can cause symptoms in the arms, legs and neck. The symptoms of a herniated disc can become pronounced when sneezing, coughing, bending over and looking down. Physical therapy can help reduce pain and increase mobility for patients with herniated discs.


  • Pinched nerve — A pinched or compressed nerve is a condition that occurs when a bone, muscle, cartilage or tendon presses up against a nerve. This condition can occur anywhere in the body where a nerve exists. The effects of a pinched nerve may not always be felt in the area where compression occurs. For example, a pinched nerve in the back can cause pain, tingling or numbness in one of the legs.


What can physical therapy do for someone with neck pain when they look down?


Physical therapy can be a great tool for someone with neck pain when they look down. Here’s what PT can specifically do for your neck pain:


  • Increase range of motion in the neck — One way that PT can improve your condition is by improving the range of motion you have in your neck. When conditions like arthritis and muscle tension have led to limited mobility, a physical therapist can use specialized techniques to help you move your neck more easily. For arthritis patients, treatment can be like neck exercises to reduce joint stiffness. For patients with limited mobility due to muscle tension, a physical therapist can use manual manipulation or instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) to break up knots of dense tissue. 


  • Reduce pain levels in the neck when looking down — One of your physical therapist’s primary goals is to reduce your neck pain. If looking down triggers neck pain, a physical therapist will work to identify the root cause of the pain and form a treatment plan designed to reduce it. The treatment your physical therapist will use to reduce your pain levels depends on the cause. For example, if you have a pinched nerve, they’ll likely use exercise and gentle movements to reduce the pressure on that nerve. 


  • Strengthen the muscles in the neck — Physical therapy treatment for neck pain when looking down will most likely include strength-building exercises. Targeting weak muscles can alleviate a lot of symptoms associated with neck pain. Not only can stronger muscles protect the joints in your neck, but they can also support greater levels of tension or stress being placed on them.  


  • Relieve pressure being placed on the nerves — Physical therapy can also be used to relieve any pressure that may be placed on a nerve. Pinching and compression can lead to tingling, numbness and pain along the length of the nerve. A physical therapist can improve a pinched nerve by building muscle strength and using manual manipulation to break up any areas of dense, soft tissue. 


  • Educate you on how to prevent future neck pain — If you have neck pain when you look down, your physical therapist can improve your pain and teach you how to prevent it from occurring again. They’ll help you build awareness of what caused it in the first place and teach you exercises you can do independently to help make sure your pain doesn’t come back.


Panther Physical Therapy can treat the neck pain that occurs when you look down


Panther Physical Therapy can provide the high-quality physical therapy care you’re in need of. Our team of qualified physical therapists is dedicated to pursuing continued education. We pride ourselves on providing advanced treatment techniques to our patients in need. 


If you feel like your neck pain has taken control over your life, don’t hesitate to choose the PT provider that can help you get back to doing what you love. We can treat your neck pain and relieve some of your most stubborn symptoms. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak with one of our team members today. 

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment at one of our locations nearest you.