The bones and joints of the neck are structured to provide protection for the spinal cord as well as allowing for the effective positioning of the head and large movements (the largest in the spine), which are provided by a complex array of muscles starting from the skull and reaching as far down as the mid back. These muscles work hard at all times, producing over 600 movements every day. With that in mind this complex area can produce some painful symptoms.
The majority of neck pain can be attributed to chronic stressors of the neck’s mechanical structures, such as repetitive work tasks, sitting at work for prolonged periods, cycling and driving position, other biomechanical factors such as tightness in upper back muscles and joints can also contribute to a the possibility of developing neck pain.
The most common types of neck pain we see are;
Whiplash and Whiplash Associated Disorder
A sudden force, most commonly seen in car accidents, where the head is quickly thrown forwards then backwards can result in an acute set of symptoms such as neck, head, and shoulder pain. There may also be some numbness, ‘pins and needles’, or shooting pains into the arm and hand. There may also be some dizziness and ‘brain fog’. These symptoms must be checked by a doctor and may require an x-ray or other imaging to rule out serious damage.
‘Cricked’ or ‘Locked’ Neck (Cervical Facet Syndrome)
People who are suffering from this joint problem usually describe a very specific location of pain in the neck with some more diffuse pain in the shoulder or upper back, there may also be some pain or numbness in the arm, but rarely past the elbow. People who suffer this type of pain will struggle to turn the head and looking up may be worse than looking down, however all movements may be painful. This type of neck pain can be severe and debilitating.
Chronic Neck Pain/Stiffness
Everyone gets a stiff neck once in a while, but some people seem to have almost constant pain and stiffness in the neck. People who suffer from this type of pain can have either some age-related changes to the vertebral discs, or are placing an excessive demand on the structures of the neck through activities such as manual labour, long distance cycling, or prolonged computer use. From these activities it is possible to develop a postural problem where the chin is protruded, and the head is forward of the shoulders. This not only compresses the upper joints in the neck but places a lot of strain on the upper back and shoulder muscles resulting in burning or aching across the upper back and neck. There may also be some headache like pain at the base of the skull.
As the neck contains many vital structures, getting an accurate diagnosis is crucial to ensure that any treatment applied is not only effective but is safe.
Our expert osteopaths can accurately diagnose your symptoms and recommend the best course of action. They are highly skilled in manual therapy techniques such as massage, joint mobilization and manipulation that can help relieve the pain from various neck problems.
As well as providing pain relief our osteopaths can recommend exercises that have been shown to help reduce neck pain and advise on workplace ergonomics and pillow choice that will help prevent further episodes.
Do you want to know what is causing your pain and if we can help? Why not take advantage of our new patient assessment introductory offer to get you started towards a tailor made recovery plan for only £19.
Are you in a lot of pain and want to get better as soon as possible? If so then why not book in for a new patient consultation, with treatment on the day, for £60.
We are also there to help you from home. Take a look at our suite of exercise resources and advice sheets which you can easily download and use from home.
Sources for this text
At Align our focus in on providing expert, up to date care to patients in Bath and the surrounding areas to help them relieve their pain and achieve the most active life possible. Here are just a few of the ways we do this;
- We support your recovery, tailoring your treatment to your goals and a pace that works for you
- We combine exercise and hands on treatment giving you control over your recovery
- Our team of friendly, experienced osteopaths are available when you need us
- Our treatment is clinically based, practical and delivers tangible results
- We offer a low cost new patient assessment for just £19 so you can see for yourself who we are and how we work, with no obligation or risk
- We are continually researching new methods of treatment and where appropriate adapting our practices
- We can provide treatment quickly and offer an easy online booking system so you can arrange the help you need when it suits you
Still unsure? Don’t take our word for it, read some of the feedback from patients about how we have made a difference to their lives below.