The neck is the area covered by the cervical vertebrae that are the seven smallest vertebrae at the top of the spine. The bones protect the spinal cord, which is the long bundle of nervous tissue which transmits signals between the brain and the rest of the body, so the pain itself, along with the causes of neck pain need to be taken seriously. Ignoring neck pain causes can
The more we use our necks, the more likely we are to suffer from wear and tear which can cause stiffness, but sometimes squashes a nerve which causes pain, numbness and pins and needles in the arms.
Neck pain may occur as the result of an acute mechanical injury such as whiplash, a ruptured disc, or jarring your neck during exercise. It can build up gradually as the result of poor posture, incorrect driving positions, having your computer positioned too high or too low, or bending over your desk for hours. It can also be caused by psychological factors such as worry or stress.
Often people sleep awkwardly and will wake up with pain caused by a twisted neck or torticollis. Carrying a heavy bag with one arm or on one shoulder can cause a similar pain. This sort of neck pain usually lasts around 48 hours and tends to resolve by itself. There are, however, simple exercises you can do to relax the muscles in your neck to help you treat the discomfort.
How osteopathy can help neck pain
An osteopath will cover a detailed case history and can diagnose your neck pain. There are serious conditions that cause neck pain that would require a referral to your GP and osteopaths are taught to recognise these. Once you know your neck by using a range of gentle techniques aimed at reducing muscular tensions. Exactly what will happen depends on the cause of the pain, but will usually involve gentle massage of the soft tissues, rocking the joints in order to release tension and, in a few cases, ‘clicking’ the neck.
Treatment is often very gentle but sometimes will need to be a bit firmer depending on the problem.
Your osteopath might also recommend the use of ice packs, heat or over-the-counter treatments for the pain. And in addition to treatment, the osteopath will give you stretching exercises to help you keep your muscles and joints relaxed, as well as advice on your posture.
If you have a problem caused by chronic or acute neck pain, book an appointment with one of our qualified osteopaths.