Cervical Tendonitis

What is Cervical Tendonitis?

By: Ehren Allen, PT, Certified Manual Therapist

Tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon, which is the thick, strong structure that attaches the muscle itself to the bone.  This can take place in any tendon of the body, becoming particularly painful when occurring in the neck. 

JOI can help with cervical tendonitis occurring in the neck.Image of the cervical area  

Cervical tendonitis neck pain can be extremely problematic because you are unable to enjoy a full range of movement, and the limited movement you do have will be painful. 

This pain and limitation in motion may effect your ability to perform daily activities such as driving, dressing, sleeping, sports participation, and performing computer work or desk work.

Cervical tendonitis is typically caused by repetitive strain/pull on a tendon.  This can be due to a specific repetitive motion throughout the day. Another contributing factor may be poor posture, which places undue strain on the muscle and tendon. 

Irritation of the tendon may also take place if a sudden pull is placed on the tendon where it attaches to the bone, such as with a quick, “jerking” motion.  If you do have tendonitis of the neck, you will likely be limited in ability to turn your head one or more directions and  may feel warmth or swelling in area of inflammation. 

What can I do if I have cervical tendonitis?

The key to treating cervical tendonitis is to decrease the inflammation and eliminate the source of the irritation to prevent recurrence.  If you are able to determine the particular movement which is causing the pain, stop this motion immediately.  To read more about tendonitis, please go to What is Tendonitis?

This should help to prevent the inflammatory process from continuing and allow the tendon to begin healing.  Treatments may include anti-inflammatory medications, use of ice, physical therapy, and massage.  

Especially with neck tendonitis, posture and postural awareness play a large role.  Commonly when in a seated position, individuals fall into a slouched posture.  This forward position of the shoulders brings the head forward as well.  In order to maintain the upright position of the head, the individual with hyperextend, or backward-bend, the neck.  

JOI Proper Posture for SittingProper Posture for Sitting

This places the muscles in the front and back of the neck at altered muscle lengths.  The muscles become “out of balance”, whereas, the muscles in the back of the neck become short and tight while the musculature in the front of the neck becomes excessively elongated and weak. 

This scenario leads to the muscles and tendons having altered tensions placed upon them. This could ultimately lead to inflammation of the tendon insertion and therefore tendonitis.  The ability to correct this posture and recognize when varied is critical to decreasing undue strain on the tendon.  

Treatment of Cervical Tendonitis

If your physician refers you to physical therapy, a variety of techniques may be used to improve range of motion and decrease pain.  Stretches may be incorporated to improve extensibility of the specific muscles involved.

Pec Stretch from JOI RehabPec Stretch in Doorway 

If the tendon is being over-worked due to dysfunction of surrounding musculature, specific strengthening exercises will be taught in order to improve muscle balance.  One of our 12 JOI Rehab physical therapy centers can develop a program specifically for you. Please call JOI Rehab at 904-858-7045.

Massage is another method of decreasing muscle and tendon restrictions to improve proper extensibility of the muscle.  These techniques facilitate proper function of the muscle-tendon complex and reduce the excessive strain on the tendon itself. 

If you need an appointment for your neck, go to this article on the fast track spine program.

Related Articles: Tennis Elbow, Cervical Myelopathy and Tendonitis in the Thumb.

To schedule an appointment with a JOI Neck or Cervical Doctor, call 904-JOI-2000, schedule online, or click the link below.

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