There are as many physical therapy regimens as there are doctors prescribing this form of treatment. Basically, the regimens include passive treatment such as heat application, cold application, ultrasound, and massage, as well as active treatments, such as exercises. The passive treatments are commonly used during the initial recovery phase after the patient has undergone a bed rest. Again, the objective is to reduce the pain and increase mobility.
Active or exercise treatments may be beneficial in several ways. First, after a period of inactivity, it is important to increase mobility slowly and carefully so as to avoid straining the affected area. Secondly, exercises can strengthen the stomach and back muscles, improving the patient’s posture and helping to resolve the condition and avoid recurrence. Third, participation in an active program with a therapist can go a long way toward convincing a patient of his or her ability to resume normal activities without being re-injured. Many people who suffer a neck or back injury in an accident are extremely apprehensive about resuming their normal activities. A controlled and monitored exercise program can be truly therapeutic in this regard.
Many chiropractors and osteopaths also recommend the use of a cervical pillow to ensure that the cervical spine is maintained in alignment if a patient rests or sleeps. Chiropractors generally recommend against sleeping in the prone position, as it may resultt in excessive rotation stress in the upper cervical spine.