At Bendigo Osteo, our Osteopaths and Massage Therapists regularly provide treatment and advise to people suffering from neck pain.
The neck is a complex and amazing structure of the body. Its main role is to support the weight of the head (which is on average a heavy 4.5-5kgs). It also allows for head movement and importantly protects the spinal cord. Furthermore, the neck assists in swallowing and elevates the ribs when breathing.
What causes Neck Problems?
So, given all of its responsibilities and complexities, the neck is subject to a lot of stress and strain. In the majority of cases the cause of neck pain is musculoskeletal in origin. Which is what Osteopaths specialise in.
The most common causes of musculoskeletal neck pain are:
Poor posture: Typically, postural issues such as forward head carriage cause neck strain. Desk work, iphone use, or carrying heavy pack backs contribute to this. These activities place unnatural strain on your neck joints. Sleeping on your stomach also can cause neck pain.
Repetitive tasks: It is common for labourers, nurses and transport drivers to suffer neck pain from regularly carrying heavy items or head turning. This wears the joints down causing pain.
Trauma: Sudden force caused from falls, car accidents and sport injuries damage the soft tissue in the neck. Whip lash, when the neck is forcefully moved beyond its normal range of motion strains the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the neck. Injury to the neck can cause pain and discomfort for months.
Arthritis: This causes degeneration in the intervertebral discs or joints of the neck. There are many different types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, gout and rheumatoid. Fibromyalgia, which is not arthritis but is similar in its impact on the joints of our body can also cause neck pain. There is no cure for these, but pain can be elevated through Osteopathic treatment.
Stress: We all know the saying ‘carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders’. Emotional and mental stress is often expressed through our bodies and in particular we feel this in our neck. Hunching our shoulders and jaw clenching from stress contribute significantly to muscle tension leading to neck pain too.
Nerve Impingement: Is usually the result of any of the above causes listed. Impingement happens when either a disc injury or a bony spur from arthritis is pressing on the nerve, or swelling around the nerve from joint sprains.
Types of pain:
As there are many different causes of neck pain, so can neck pain can vary in its presentation. Commonly people will feel tension in the base of skull, which runs down into upper back. It can also include muscle spasms, stiffness and affect range of motion. More severe pain known as “wry neck” or torticollis can result in severe stabbing pain and limited movement of the neck and head.
People may also experience pain, stiffness in the front of their neck, under their chin and into their pectorals.
Other symptoms of Neck Pain:
Other very common symptoms associated with neck pain include headaches, known as ‘cervicogenic headaches’ and jaw pain or locked jaw. Also, if there is impingement there may be referring pain, numbness or tingling down the arms or hands and weakness.
Osteopathy and Neck Pain:
At Bendigo Osteo all our osteopaths are trained to access and treat people for neck pain. After taking a case history and preforming an assessment, they will determine the cause of your neck pain. Then provide osteopathic treatment to counteract the muscular strain in your neck or upper back. Their aim is to relieve the tension so your neck and associated structures can find its correct musculoskeletal balance. It will also likely include advise on posture, altering your movement patterns and any home rehabilitation exercises or stretches.
Can Massage help?
At Bendigo Osteo we provide remedial massage for 30/60min appointments. If you present with neck pain, your massage will include your neck, plus your head and upper back and maybe shoulders. If you are unsure whether to see an Osteopath or Massage Therapist click here.