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Neck Pain Treatment

Neck pain is a common condition that will affect most people at some point in their lives. It is one of the more common problems that Osteopaths treat. There are many different reasons that cause neck pain and there are many different types of neck pain. Neck pain can range from a dull ache to sharp shooting pain. It can refer into the shoulder and arm or refer up into the head and cause headaches.
Some of the common causes of neck pain include:
  • Sleeping in an awkward position
  • Poor posture
  • Poor ergonomics at work
  • Tension
  • Injury/trauma
  • Motor vehicle accidents
The above causes will generally lead to functional pain that is related to the neck not working as it should and causing general musculoskeletal pain. This would be considered your general day to day neck pain. Most of the causes above are factors in people’s everyday lives, which over a period of time will lead to dysfunction and pain.
Some injuries and trauma including motor vehicle accidents can cause more serious problems that may require an assessment by a doctor.
Symptoms of neck pain and neck related issues can vary. The most common symptom is pain in the neck, this pain could be an ache or a sharp shooting pain, it could be constant or intermittent. Symptoms of pain can refer into the shoulder and arm, even down to the hand and fingers. Tension in the muscles of the neck can refer into the head causing headaches. Pain in the jaw can be related to problems in the neck. Numbness, tingling and pins and needles are all symptoms that can be caused by issues of the nerves in the neck.
Osteopaths can assess your neck and the surrounding areas to diagnose the cause of your neck pain. An assessment will involve taking a case history to understand the nature of the problem. Your posture will be checked and you will be put through a range of motion test which involves moving your head and neck to see how it moves to one side compared to the other. An assessment will also involve palpating the area, which involves feeling the muscles and joints to work out which are tight and restricted.
General musculoskeletal neck pain is pain that relates to the muscles, joints and some nerve related issues. The most common types of musculoskeletal neck pain are:
  • Cervical joint strain
  • Intervertebral disc disruption
  • Muscles strains
  • Muscle spasm (torticollis)
  • Tension headaches
  • Disc bulges
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Neuropathy causing upper limb symptoms
All of the above problems can be treated by Osteopaths. Osteopathic treatment is a form of manual medicine, which involves hands on techniques to help relieve pain and symptoms. This is achieved by loosening the tight muscles, strengthening the weak muscles, and helping to get restricted joints moving better. This will restore function to the neck.
Neck pain treatment generally involves the following:
  • Massage
  • Stretching
  • Mobilisation
  • Manipulation
  • Exercises
A common question when it comes to neck pain treatment is whether the treatment is painful. Generally, most of the techniques won’t cause pain, but treatment of a painful area will be sensitive for most people. You should always let your Osteopath know if the treatment is painful, but sometimes you may need to go through a small amount of pain to get better.
Other forms of treatment that can help with neck pain include:
  • Pain medication
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Heat pack
  • Ice pack
  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
If you suffer from neck pain or any other symptoms that may relate to issues in the neck, you should get yourself assessed by an Osteopath.
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