Symptoms of Neck Pain
- Pain that’s often worsened by holding your head in one place for long periods, such as when driving or working at a computer
- Decreased ability to move your head
- Pins and needles or numbness in the hands
- Muscle tightness and spasms
Neck Pain is incredibly common and responds very well to osteopathic treatment. That is because neck and shoulder pains are often caused by poor sitting or standing posture which cause the spine to become stiff and immobile and for the muscles to become tight.
You may also have noticed that your neck and shoulders feel tight and sore at the end of the day. The reason is your muscles are exhausted from trying to uphold your head in a less than ideal position.
Causes of Neck pain
- Muscle strains. Overuse, such as too many hours hunched over your computer or smartphone can cause muscle strains. Even minor effects, such as reading in bed or gritting your teeth, can strain neck muscles.
- Degenerative joints. Just like the other joints in your body, your neck joints tend to wear down and degenerate with age. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage between your vertebrae to degenerate. Your body then produces bone spurs that affect joint motion and cause pain.
- Nerve compression. Herniated or slipped discs or facet irritations or foraminal impingement in the vertebrae of your neck can press on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.
- Injuries. Road traffic accidents often result in whiplash injury, which occurs when the head is jerked backward and then forward, straining the soft tissues of the neck.
Treatments for Neck Pain
Osteopathic treatment can help all these conditions, because we take a whole body approach to treatment and address all the issues contributing to the symptomatic area. By treating the sore muscles and stiff joints we can make you feel considerably better quickly. We can then work on your posture and exercises to help you maintain those benefits and stop the problems from coming back.
- Counterstrain– The osteopath identifies an exact position of extreme lower back pain for the patient, slowly positions the patient to a position that provides extreme comfort and then slowly returns the patient to a more neutral position.
- High velocity thrusts (HVT)– the osteopath applies a high-velocity thrust to the joint to reduce any restricted movement with the goal of reducing pressure on the joints and providing pain relief.
- Articulation– involving gentle repetitive movement of a joint to try and increase the range of movement.
- Massage– The osteopath may perform different massages to stimulate the muscles and reduce muscle spasm.
- Myofascial Therapy– The osteopath may use this soft tissue therapy to release muscular shortness and tightness.
- Muscle Energy– The osteopath applies a counterforce to the muscles while they are being used in a precise position and direction.
- Soft Tissue Mobilisation– The osteopath applies rhythmic stretching, deep pressure or traction techniques to involve the muscle area around the spine to reduce pain.
- Needles are usually placed in the neck and shoulder muscles for pain relief. It’s thought the effects come from stimulating the central nervous system. This may trigger the release of chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals reduce pain and loosen tight muscles.
Exercise prescribed by the osteopath
- Upper trapezius stretch
- Levator scapulae stretch
- Scalene stretch
- Suboccipital stretch
- Pectoralis stretch