Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

I'm seeing a physical therapist for neck pain, probably caused by too much time in front of the computer. My insurance bill came and I see my diagnosis is a load-bearing disorder. What does that have to do with computer use? I'm not doing any heavy lifting at all.

Answer:

Load-bearing disorder refers to pain from load on the joint. Lifting may not be the main factor. Sitting in one position for long periods of time is more likely the problem load.

It's really true that motion is lotion. Joints stiffen up without regular, rhythmic movement. Muscles must contract and relax in order to move blood along and get rid of any toxins that build up from inactivity.

Nontraumatic neck pain can be classified as a load bearing disorder or a movement impairment disorder. The difference is based on what causes the painful symptoms: load or movement?

With load-bearing disorders, you are more likely to have pain but full motion when you do move your neck. With movement impairment, there's pain and a loss of motion. According to a recent study on neck pain patients in Australia, you can expect a faster recovery with a load-bearing disorder compared to movement impairment disorder. Dean A. Clair, PT, MMedSc, et al. Physical Therapy Treatment Dose for Nontraumatic Neck Pain: A Comparison Between 2 Patient Groups. In Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. November 2006. Vol. 36. No. 11. Pp.867-875.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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