Osteopathy and neck pain

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Neck pain is a pretty common complaint and, it sometimes seems, almost all human activity can cause neck pain – from the heavy duty stuff of playing contact sports like rugby, to gentler pursuits such as gardening, to mundane activities like watching TV – and even sleeping with a pillow at an odd angle.

For many people, neck pain arrives without apparent cause and disappears without apparent cure, but if the pain lingers, it may be worthwhile visiting an osteopath. If you struggle on, you could make things worse or you may start to ‘compensate’ for the pain with changes in your body, which can lead to issues elsewhere. Pain in your lower back could be the result of pain in your neck…

There’s a number of possible causes for persistent neck pain:

Cervical spondylosis (a form of osteoarthritis) is the result of the wearing of the discs in that part of the spine and the narrowing of the spaces between them. Also, ‘spurs’ of bone, known as osteophytes form at the edges of the vertebrae and the facet joints.

Whiplash often follows being ‘rear-ended’ in a collision in the car, which causes the body to be catapulted forward and the head flip backwards, then forwards. Following such an incident, there is, typically, a delay between the incident and the pain and stiffness. It’s rarely a long-term issue, though, but can affect lifestyle and work for a period afterwards (and whiplash is often associated with insurance claims).

Tension: Your neck muscles need to be tense to keep your head upright, but when you’re under stress, you can, subconsciously, overwork the muscles that are in constant use and keep them tighter than normal. You may be clenching your fists or your neck muscles could be working overtime. This can lead to headaches and neck pain – and you can get the same from sitting over a laptop for too long or having a badly set-up work station.

But osteopathy can help.

When you visit, we would assess the nature and quality of the movement in your spine and neck, checking the muscle function too. It’s likely that we’d articulate and manipulate the area to increase the flexibility of the joints, and we may also use cranial techniques to re-balance the functionality of the movement of the neck and head. We’d also recommend exercises to correct poor posture.

If you’ve neck pain, talk to us, and see if we can help.

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