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Why Am I Having Neck Pain From Breathing?

Experiencing neck pain when you breathe? While some aches and pains go away on their own, chronic neck pain while breathing could be a sign of something more serious. Here are some of the common causes of neck pain from breathing, and how physical therapy can help.

Common Causes of Neck Pain While Breathing

The nerves, muscles, and vertebrae in the neck are a complex system, which means there are several possible causes behind neck pain when you breathe. Some of the most common include:

  • Pinched Nerves: The head and neck area contains many nerve endings that can easily become compressed or pinched from poor posture, repetitive movements, or an impact injury. As you breathe, your muscles could press against a pinched nerve, causing minor to severe pain.
  • Soft Tissue Strain: Soft tissues including muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck can become strained from repetitive movements—like looking at a computer screen—sleeping on your neck improperly or turning your head too forcefully. Whiplash is often associated with painful breathing after a soft tissue strain. 
  • Impact Injury: A car accident, sports injury, or another traumatic injury can cause neck pain while breathing. Even if you’ve received medical attention for your injury, symptoms of pain and discomfort can linger long after the injury occurred. As the body naturally develops scar tissue to heal from the injury, it can build up in your neck muscles, causing stiffness and pain.
  • Herniated Disc: If you’re experiencing symptoms of numbness or tingling along with neck pain when you breathe, you may have a herniated disc. Herniated discs occur when the cushioning discs between the vertebrae in the back and neck rupture. Pain, weakness, and numbness in the neck—as well as the shoulder and arm—often accompany a herniated disc.

In other cases, poor breathing habits or poor posture may be the cause of neck pain from breathing. Shallow breathing tends to cause your torso to tense, which naturally pulls the neck muscles toward them, causing strain over time. Poor posture can also cause many of the conditions above, including pinched nerves, soft tissue injuries, and more. 

Physical Therapy Can Treat Pain in Your Neck While Breathing

If you’re experiencing pain in the neck when you breathe, you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. In many cases, a physical therapy regimen can help treat pain in the neck, head, and back caused by impact injuries; joint and muscle conditions; and other medical issues. 

Your licensed physical therapist can diagnose the root cause of your neck pain and determine the best possible method of treating it. Using a number of proven physical therapy methods, the medical team at Impact Medical Group of Clearwater can treat your neck pain, including:

  • Facilitated stretches
  • Manual soft tissue therapy
  • Spinal manipulation and traction
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation

Start Your Journey to Recovery With the Help of Impact Medical Group of Lutz

The skilled, caring medical team at Impact Medical Group of Clearwater has years of experience helping people with neck pain just like yours. Start your journey to recovery today by calling us at (727) 292-0200 to schedule your free consultation!