Neck Pain in London

What is neck pain?

The neck is made up of seven vertebrae which form the cervical spine and stack up in a column, cushioned with discs to absorb the shock. They connect the skull to the upper part of the torso and the spinal cord. A human head weighs on average between 10-11 pounds or 4.5-5 kilos, which is a large amount of weight to support so it’s unsurprising that neck aches and pains are a fairly common occurrence at our clinics. Most of us will experience some degree of neck pain in our lifetimes. 

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends osteopathy for the treatment of non-specific neck pain. Neck pain can be local to the neck but it can also radiate beyond the neck into the skull, pain in the head and down the upper back, arms, across the shoulders and even cause more complex pain elsewhere. Symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, pins and needles and pain or difficulty moving the neck particularly when turning the head to look sideways. Neck pain, injury or stiffness can be caused by a wide range of conditions and possible causes.

 

These include:

  • Postural issues

  • Stress and tension

  • Osteoarthritis (wear and tear)

  • Spinal stenosis

  • Disc bulge or prolapse 

  • Muscle strain 

  • Chronic muscle imbalance

  • Whiplash 

  • Sporting injuries causing joint strain

  • Lifestyle factors e.g. sleeping position, computer use or driving position 

  • Cervical Spondylosis
     

neck pain relief in london
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How does osteopathy help? 

Osteopathy is a system of diagnosing and treating medical conditions that focus on the structure and the functioning of the whole body. It’s based on the idea that your overall health and wellbeing depend on your musclo-skeletal system (bones, muscles, ligaments and soft connective tissues) all working together coherently and inter-related rather than addressing a specific illness or symptom. Osteopaths are trained professionals who focus on detecting, treating and preventing health problems mainly by using joint movement, mobilisation, stretching and massage. 

What will happen during the appointment?

Most episodes of neck pain will resolve itself within a few days or a few weeks but sometimes the pain will persist which is when osteopathic manual therapy can help. During your initial consultation we will take time to discuss your case history, how the pain is affecting your life, how long you’ve had it and what activities make it better or worse as well as conducting a thorough physical examination to identify the correct source and cause of your pain. From there we will talk you through our findings and devise an appropriate treatment plan. 

Treatment approach involves a variety of techniques including soft tissue massage, articulation, stretching and gentle manipulation where appropriate to help realign the bones and joints bringing them back into alignment. Cranial osteopathy may also be incorporated to rebalance the rhythm of the lymphatic flow around the skull (cranium) and down the spine. The treatment aims to realign the muscles of the bones and joints, increase mobility of the joints, relieve any muscle tension, balance tensions around the tissues, enhance blood supply to the tissues, alleviating pain, restoring normal function and helping the body to heal naturally. Many people choose osteopathy because the treatment does not require medication and is considered a more natural approach than conventional medicine.

 

Part of the treatment can be to offer management strategies for your own condition and advice to prevent your problems from returning. This may also involve teaching you about posture, movement habits, exercises to continue with at home and using techniques such as hydrotherapy (hot and cold packs). Most neck pain caused by postural issues, stress and tension, strains, problems with ligaments and muscle imbalances can be treated effectively with osteopathy. However, sometimes an osteopath may need to refer you to your GP for further tests or scans.