One out of ten of us will have neck pain at some time in our life. In most cases it is not due to a serious disease or neck problem and often the exact cause for the pain is not clear. Most are probably due to minor sprains or bad posture. This comes as no surprise when we consider the activities of modern life such as sitting in front of a computer, watching prolonged periods of television and an increasing incidence of poor posture – particularly forward head posture.
We encourage you to contact us for a thorough assessment with one of our Osteopaths if you regularly experience any of the following,:
- In the am you may wake up with a sore neck
- Reversing the car and turning your head, your neck may feel stiff
- When you turn your head you may hear a clicking sound
- Neck muscles may ache constantly
- A sensation of pins and needles in your fingers and hands
With more moving parts than any other machine, it’s not surprising your body occasionally cries out in pain or refuses to do what you tell it to do. After all, there are hundreds of different muscles and joints that can go wrong. Fortunately, there’s an effective way to treat many of the problems you can experience –Osteopathy.
Causes of neck pain
One survey done has found that, of adults aged 45-75 years, about 1 in 4 women and about 1 in 5 men had current neck pain. Types and causes of neck pain include:
By far the most common cause of neck pain relates to the effects of poor posture. In order to understand the impact of poor posture, we must first consider why spinal alignment within the neck is so important.
Coupled with the stresses and demands of modern life, it is no surprise why neck pain is so common. Your head weighs about 5 kgs and in normal alignment it is very carefully balanced on top of your seven neck bones (vertebrae).
- Your muscles work very hard to maintain this postion and easily withstand short periods of variation.
- Problems arise when we assume awkward positions for prolonged periods, the fine balance is disturbed and the nerves, muscles, joints, ligaments and discs of your neck become strained and irritated.
- The tension in your neck and shoulder muscles doubles for every 2-3 cm’s that your head is forward! Over time, the neck strain and pressure accumulates to a point where it becomes chronic and even the smallest changes in posture cause significant effects.
- Sporting Injuries.
Because neck pain could be an indicator of various illnesses, the physio will ask all the special questions such as general health, past medical history, weight loss, bladder and bowel control, quality of appetite and sleep and medication usage.
Treatment for Neck Pain
Before any action is taken, the Osteopath will assess your neck pain, diagnose the problem and help you understand what’s wrong. They will work with you to develop an effective treatment plan that takes into account your lifestyle, leisure activities and general health. Thankfully, Osteopathy offers a very effective treatment for neck pain. Typically, your Osteopath will recommend the following:
- postural advice and how to avoid further strain, good posture may help. Check that your sitting position at work or at the computer is not poor. (That is, not with your head flexed forward with a stooped back.) Sit upright.
- a series of spinal mobilisations to restore proper movement to the neck vertebrae
- massage to tight neck muscles
- neck exercises to encourage improved movement
- neck strengthening exercises
- keep active
- heat/ice therapy to help manage your neck pain
- recommend a contoured firm supporting pillow seems to help some people when sleeping.
- advice on how you can help yourself. for example, you may be shown exercises that you can do between treatment sessions