My Boss Is A Pain In My Neck

Jane is a 30 year old accountant and has been working furiously (60-80 hours per week) for the last couple of months. All this work has taken a toll on her body and especially her neck. She is having a hard time falling asleep and wakes up a couple of times a night. Instead of waking up fresh and feeling better she feels stiff and sore in the mornings. She complains of constant neck pain and tension. She also has pain that radiates down her right shoulder blade and intermittent numbness down the back of her arm. Jae runs and lifts weights 3-4x/week but admits that because of her hectic work hours she would be lucky to go to the gym once a week.

Rebuild Physiotherapist standing behind patient


During our physical exam, I asked Jane to do some movements in order to assess his mobility. I noticed her neck movement was really stiff when she was turning her head to the right and looking up. Her upper back movement is also limited when she tries to arch backwards. By hand, I felt Jane’s neck and upper back to see how those joints were moving. The joint called the “cervical-thoracic junction”, where the neck meets the upper back, was really locked on Jane. Her upper back was also very stiff and rounded forward. Her neck and upper back were most likely caused from poor sitting posture: forward head poke and forward rounding shoulders. Jane also has a compressed nerve along the base of her neck which was resulting in the numbness along the back of her right arm.

Rebuild physiotherapist checking patient's neck range of motion


I used a manual therapy technique called active release techniques (ART) to stretch out the tight muscles around Jane’s neck and shoulder called the upper trapezius and levator scapulae. I also released the chest muscles, the pectoralis major and minor, which was tight and causing Jane’s shoulders to round forward leading to her poor posture. Then I used a joint adjustment to release the locked up joints in her upper back.

A joint adjustment is a quick and specific technique applied over specific segments of the spine to release jammed up joints. I adjusted the cervical thoracic junction and upper back. After the first treatment Jane noticed a significant reduction in pain and improvement in her neck range of motion.

In follow up treatments I added acupuncture to her treatment plan. Acupuncture is an effective way at reducing pain, decreasing joint inflammation, and decreasing tension of muscles and joints. At work, I advised that Jane place a small rolled up towel along her lower back while she is sitting in her chair. This support will remind her to sit upright with proper posture.

Rebuild physiotherapist stretching patient's neck


Jane’s trial of treatment concluded after 6 sessions over 4 weeks. After the course of physio treatment she was able to sleep comfortably through the night and able to have full pain free movement in his neck. Another happy customer!

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Rebuild physiotherapy is conveniently located in Toronto’s South Financial District with PATH accessibility.