Pain in the neck when breathing: Why you’re feeling it and what PT can do about it

Pain in Neck When Breathing

Many people feel neck pain after a long day of sitting at a computer or from having slept on it the wrong way. Roughly 30% of adults report having experienced neck pain at one point or another. Most of these aches and pains will go away after a while. However, if you are experiencing neck pain that happens when you breathe, it may be a sign of something more serious.

What causes neck pain when breathing?

Due to the complex nature of the nerves, muscles and vertebrae that make up the neck, there are several possible causes for feeling neck pain when you breathe. Some of the most common include:

  • Pinched nerves — There are many nerve endings in the head and neck area. Often, these nerves can become compressed or pinched due to poor posture, repetitive movements or an injury. When you breathe, your muscles may be pressing against a pinched nerve. This could be the cause of your pain.
  • Soft tissue strain — The soft tissue in the neck can become strained from repetitive movements, such as looking down at a phone or computer screen. Soft tissue strain can also be caused by sleeping on your neck improperly, or turning your head too quickly and forcefully. 
  • Traumatic injury — A car accident, sports injury or other traumatic injury may be the cause of your neck pain. Even if your injury has been treated, you may experience symptoms of pain, discomfort and stiffness long after the injury occured. Scar tissue can often build up in your neck muscles after an injury, which causes pain and stiffness in the neck.
  • COVID-19 — Many people who have recovered from COVID-19 experience symptoms long after they have recovered from the disease. Muscle and joint pain is a common complaint among patients who have recovered from COVID-19. If you have recovered from COVID19 in the past, your neck pain might be a lingering symptom of the disease.
  • Herniated disc — If you are experiencing neck pain as well as numbness or tingling when breathing, you may have experienced a herniated disc. This occurs when the cushioning discs between the vertebrae in the neck and back ruptures, resulting in pain, weakness, and numbness in the neck as well as the shoulder and arm.

Can physical therapy treat pain in my neck when I breathe?

Physical therapists are experts at treating pain in the neck, head and back due to injuries, joint and muscle issues, and other conditions. A licensed physical therapy specialist can diagnose the cause of your neck pain and determine the best course of action to treat it. A number of trusted physical therapy methods can be used to treat neck pain, including:

  • Electrical stimulation.

Our team at Border Therapy Services has years of experience in helping people just like you. Our goal is to treat your pain at the source and get you back to doing the things you enjoy.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.