How Physical Therapy Helps Neck Osteoarthritis OA

person with neck pain

Physical Therapy Helps Neck OA


Physical therapy is a highly effective approach for treating a wide range of medical conditions, including neck osteoarthritis. It’s a non-invasive and low-risk treatment option that helps to manage the pain and symptoms associated with the condition. Physical therapists are professionals who specialize in helping individuals achieve their full rehabilitation potential.

Physical therapy for neck osteoarthritis can help patients regain their strength and improve their range of motion, as well as reduce inflammation and alleviate pain associated with the condition. Working closely with a physical therapist, patients can learn exercises and techniques that are tailored to their individual needs, helping them achieve optimal health and wellness. With physical therapy, many neck osteoarthritis patients can improve their quality of life and return to their normal daily activities.

What to Expect at Physical Therapy

When visiting a physical therapist for the first time, individuals can expect an initial assessment and evaluation. During this evaluation, physical therapists will assess the individual’s current mobility and range of motion as well as any areas that may be weak or tight. After a thorough assessment has been conducted, a personalized treatment plan will be created to address the individual’s needs. Treatment plans typically include both manual therapy techniques such as massage and stretching as well as various exercises designed to strengthen muscles and promote flexibility.

What Types of Exercises Might You Do

The type of exercises that are prescribed during physical therapy sessions depends on each individual’s overall needs. Common exercises for neck osteoarthritis include:

  • Neck stretches – Stretching can help increase the range of motion and reduce tightness in the neck area. Your physical therapist may suggest different stretches for home use or while at work.
  • Strengthening exercises – Exercises such as chin tucks or shoulder shrugs are often prescribed to build up muscles around your neck that have become weakened due to arthritis. Doing these regularly can help improve posture and reduce pain associated with stiffness in these areas.
  • Postural awareness – Working on postural awareness helps individuals develop better habits when it comes to posture while sitting or standing which can often reduce strain on joints affected by osteoarthritis in the neck area.
  • Core stabilization – Core stabilization involves strengthening specific muscle groups around your core (abdominals, lower back) which helps support your body when engaging in activities throughout the day such as bending or lifting objects which can sometimes cause strain on arthritic joints located near your neck area if done improperly.

How Long Recovery Takes

The length of recovery varies from person to person depending on how severe their case of neck osteoarthritis is as well as other factors including age and overall health status prior to starting treatment with physical therapy. Generally speaking, most people should expect to see some improvements within six weeks after beginning treatment but more significant improvement may be seen after 12 weeks. Some people may need multiple rounds of physical therapy sessions over a few months depending on their unique situation.


Physical therapy is effective in treating neck osteoarthritis. Personalized treatment plans with manual manipulation, strengthening and core exercises, and improved postural awareness ease pain, improve flexibility, mobility and regain strength. Qualified professionals like those at North American clinics help produce noticeable improvements within six weeks, with greater results taking several months.


What is the best exercise for osteoarthritis of the neck?

The best types of exercises for osteoarthritis of the neck should focus on increasing range of motion, improving posture, and building strength. Some examples include neck stretches and isometric exercises.

What does physical therapy do for osteoarthritis?

Physical therapy for osteoarthritis can help to reduce pain and improve joint function through targeted exercises and other interventions. Depending on the severity, physical therapy can help to restore normal biomechanics and reduce the chance of worsening symptoms.

What does physical therapy do for neck pain?

Physical therapy for neck pain takes aim at reducing pain and improving function through targeted exercises, improved posture, and hands-on interventions like massage.

Is physical therapy worth it for neck pain?

Physical therapy can be highly effective in reducing neck pain and improving function. However, the effectiveness of a physical therapy program will depend on a variety of factors, including the underlying cause of the neck pain and the patient’s adherence to the recommended treatment plan.

How serious is osteoarthritis of the neck?

Osteoarthritis of the neck can be serious if left untreated. In severe cases, it can lead to chronic pain, limited mobility, and decreased quality of life. However, with appropriate treatment, it’s possible to manage symptoms and potentially slow the progression of the condition.

Is osteoarthritis of the neck reversible?

Osteoarthritis of the neck is generally not reversible, but appropriate treatment can help to reduce symptoms and potentially slow the progression of the condition.

Does physical therapy help chronic neck pain?

Yes, physical therapy can help to reduce chronic neck pain by strengthening the muscles around the neck, improving posture, and correcting alignment issues.

Who is better for neck pain chiropractor or physiotherapist?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as both chiropractors and physiotherapists can be effective in treating neck pain depending on the root cause of the pain and the patient’s individual needs.

How long is physical therapy for neck pain?

The length of physical therapy for neck pain can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the patient’s response to treatment. A physical therapy program may last a few weeks or several months.

Why does my neck hurt more after physical therapy?

It’s common to experience some soreness or discomfort after physical therapy, especially if the exercises or interventions were particularly challenging. However, if the pain persists or worsens, it’s important to discuss this with your healthcare provider or physical therapist.