Neck pain is a very common presentation at the clinic, even moreso during the COVID pandemic when people had to work from home from their dining tables and were moving much less during a working day. It can run from the base of the skull to the shoulders and upper back. It can be acutely painful where it’s very hard too move the neck at all, or more of a feeling of chronic stiffness and immobility. Fortunately, in most cases, osteopathy can help.

Neck pain often occurs as a result of abnormal muscle tone around the neck vertebrae, which can stop them moving properly and in turn cause irritation of the ligaments around the joints in the neck. This can be acutely painful and is sometimes mistakenly called a ‘trapped nerve.’ Osteopaths use various techniques to help rebalance and body and restore better function to the neck, to reduce the strain and restore mobility.

These include;

Joint manipulation – very commonly pain in the back is caused by inflamed ligaments of the joints in the spine as a result of muscle spasm. Using manipulation to these joints can be very effective at relieving spasm and reducing the strain on the joints.

Soft tissue release techniques – if you have had pain or a build up of muscular tension for a while, you may develop areas of chronic tension in certain muscles. These can take the form of trigger points or fibrosis in the muscles which can contribute to ongoing pain and stiffness. Osteopathic treatment can be used to treat these areas to help the muscles return to proper function.

MET – more gentle from of treatment working with the muscle contraction, that ca be used to lengthen muscles but also restore motion to vertebrae.

Cranial osteopathy – is a gentle from of treatment to help balance the body.

We also like to take a longer term approach to help you correct and maintain your posture and reduce likelihood of further episodes. We do this with further osteopathic manual therapy and exercise prescription, usually to improve core stability.

There are other causes of neck pain, such as osteoarthritis. In these cases these may be a limit to the improvement that can be attained with treatment, however osteopathy can still help with mobility and levels of pain in many cases.

Often acute neck pain can be accompanied by pain or other sensations such as tingling, burning or numbness into the arm or hand. This can be due to a trapped nerve. There can be different causes of a trapped nerve, and with our examination we aim to get a clearer understanding of what that might be. In some cases, osteopathic treatment might be less effective, for example if the problem was caused by a problem with the disc, for example. Fortunately these cases are relatively uncommon.

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