The majority of neck pain we experience is of a structural nature. What we mean by this is that a certain structure around the neck has been compromised such as a muscle, ligament, nerve, facet, disc etc and that this is contributing towards your pain. It may also be leading to referred pain, where the pain travels to another location like your shoulders, arms and hands or upper back. When this is the case, whilst it can be painful, the most important thing you can do to get pain free as quickly as possible is to keep on moving, particularly within what we call comfortably uncomfortable areas, where you might feel some discomfort, or very low levels of pain.
Our Approach to Care
There are other potential causes of neck pain though, such as referral from the heart, jaw, liver or stomach to name but a few. Through a case history and examination, your healthcare professional can help you ascertain the cause of your pain and give you appropriate treatment, exercise prescription and advice to get you out of pain as quickly as possible.
What sort of treatment might you expect with neck pain?
This of course depends of the cause of your neck pain, but if it’s structural in nature then a variety of techniques can be used. These include soft tissue (also known as massage), high velocity low amplitude thrusts, articulations, balanced ligamentous tension, cranial and functional are just some of the techniques that your osteopath may recommend. It is important to remember however that you are in charge of the techniques your practitioner uses. They should explain the pros and cons of each technique and you should always be asked for consent before hand. It’s also important to remember that you can withdraw consent at any time, so do not feel that just because you have consented once, that you can’t change your mind later on. Treatment, along with good exercise prescription should mean that your neck pain is gone within a few treatments.
If the pain is caused by a referral from a particular organ, it may be that your healthcare professional refers you on for further investigation, perhaps to your local GP. This may be done in conjunction, or instead of treatment from your healthcare professional.
Whatever the cause is a treatment plan, and expected time frame, should be given to you at the end of your first session so long as a diagnosis has been established.