Neck pain – what you need to know
The neck is a sensitive yet flexible part of our bodies. The neck supports the weight of the head, and it is vulnerable to strains, joint and nerve issues.
It’s easy to sleep in an awkward position and wake up with a stiff neck, or to get a pinched nerve in your neck from long hours of computer work.
Often gentle massage, or a hot/cold pack can successfully ease neck pain after a few days, but if it continues, or you have sustained an injury, it may be best to get it checked out by your GP.
At Relieve Clinic, neck pain is a common complaint we see. We offer osteopathy in Leeds to help you manage neck pain with a range of osteopathic treatments. We also assess how your lifestyle may be contributing. Let’s take a more detailed look the causes and symptoms of neck pain, and how our osteopathic treatment can help.
Neck pain can be caused from a variety of sources. Some causes of neck pain can include:
- Strained neck muscles – from long periods of hunching over your computer desk, looking down to text on your Smartphone, or reading in bed.
- Aged related wear and tear – the cartilage between vertebrae wears down as we age, causing joint pain and restricted motion; also known as osteoarthritis.
- Compressed nerve – joint wear and tear, or a slipped disc in the neck vertebrae can press on the spinal cord nerves.
- Whiplash – crashing into the rear end of another car can cause the head to jerk backwards then forwards, this causes strain in the soft tissues of the neck, or even a fractured vertebrae.
Neck pain may present itself as a general discomfort in the neck area, or just stiff or tense muscles. The muscles may feel tender to the touch. You may feel pain in one or both shoulders or between the shoulder blades.
Sometimes pain can radiate into the arms and hands, causing a burning or tingling sensation in the arms and fingers. Pain at the base of the skull may be accompanied by a headache on one or both sides of the head.
Some common symptoms of a neck issue include:
- Muscle spasms and tightness
- Pain when driving or working at a computer for long periods
- Stiffness or pain when turning or moving your head
Neck pain remedies, such as: ice then hot compresses, anti-inflammatory painkillers, gentle massage and stretching, may improve a painful or stiff neck after a few days. You may also want to look at changing your pillow or mattress to provide better back and neck support.
You should seek treatment if you experience:
- Chronic neck pain that persists for several days
- Pain radiating down to arms and legs
- You experience headaches
- You’ve had a car accident, diving accident or a fall.
Osteopathy is a hands-on treatment that your GP may recommend as a solution to improve your neck pain. Osteopathic treatments will aim to relieve tension and promote healing around the neck, to reduce pain and regain neck range of movement.
To find the root cause of your pain, your osteopath may examine your spine, as well as analyse your posture or gait to see if it is a contributing factor. Other lifestyle factors such as hobbies, work or sport will also be considered.
Osteopathic techniques used to treat neck pain include:
- Soft/deep tissue massage
- Joint manipulation
- Exercise rehabilitation
Our team is able to give you neck and shoulder stretching exercises you can perform at home, and advice on how to manage your neck pain.
Often, neck pain may be caused by poor posture or the lifestyle habits you’ve adopted. To avoid neck pain in the future, you may need to make some simple changes to your daily routine.
Here are 7 things you can do to prevent neck pain:
1. Improve posture: when sitting or standing, keep your head centered over your spine rather than hunching forward. Ears should be directly over shoulders, and shoulders should be in a straight line over your hips.
2. Frequent breaks: avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes. Take frequent breaks from sitting at your desk or driving; move around, go for a walk and perform neck and shoulder stretching exercises.
3. Ergonomic workstation: feet should be flat on the floor, knees slightly lower than hips, hips pushed back into the chair, arms and shoulder relaxed. The monitor should be at eye level.
4. Use a headset or speakerphone: don’t tuck the phone between your ear and shoulder when speaking, this will contribute to neck muscle strain.
5. Stop smoking: smoking can contribute to osteoporosis and deterioration of the spinal discs.
6. Avoid carrying heavy bags: carrying a heavy shoulder bag can strain your neck and shoulder muscles.
7. Better sleeping position: use a pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck, a pillow that’s too high or rigid will strain neck muscles. Try to cleep on your back or your side, not your front.
At Relieve Clinic, our osteopathic treatment can ease the symptoms of neck pain, so you can get back to doing what you want to do.
We perform a thorough assessment to determine the source and severity of your neck pain, and to map out an osteopathic treatment plan that is best for your lifestyle and symptoms. Each patient’s treatment plan is tailored to their unique situation. We may recommend a variety of osteopathic treatment techniques to assist in the prevention and management of your neck pain.
Visit our Pricing page for the treatment types we offer.