Neck Pain

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Neck Pain

Neck Pain

Most neck pains are caused by a spinal joint sprain with reflex guarding of the paravertebral muscle around that joint. The neck range of movement is limited by pain. Where the pain is felt is an indicator of which level of the spine is affected. Pain at the neck itself is usually from the third cervical vertebra where levels above that cause pain to be felt up into the head and below that causes the pain to be felt across the shoulders and even down the arms and sometime into the shoulder blades.

The common cause to such a neck pain is poor posture such as sleeping on your front with your neck twisted for hours or looking down at your phone for long periods or watching TV with your neck turned to one side or you posture at the computer.

In our detailed examination we see which movements are painful and determine at where the cause of the pain is. We use massage and we use movement only into the pain free directions and monitor as the neck increases its pain free movement. We sometimes adjust (manipulate) into a pain free direction but in the acute case we have various soft techniques, some that have been developed in this clinic, that are pain free and effective.

Occasionally neck pain is caused by a disc protrusion which is more serious and often more painful and can refer pain down the arm or cause ‘pins and needles’ and even weakness in the arm. Our approach is to use articulation under traction into the pain free directions only and to monitor the outcome measures such as pain on movement or the extent of the area of sensory loss etc. We have never had an adverse outcome in these cases under our care. While GPs often send such cases for surgery, we have resolved all but a few over many years with conservative treatment. Referral for surgery is not out of the question in these cases but extremely rare at our clinic.

Neck pain is sometimes associated with degenerative joint disease in the elderly. The disc spaces have narrowed and there are bony spurs and some joints are fused. Often they have lost the normal curve in their neck and the movement is very limited and sometimes they have chronic (long standing) pain. We do treat such cases but with kid gloves. The ‘soft’ techniques that we use can give relief from pain but are not a long-term cure because of the degeneration. They need regular treatment, but we try to minimize the frequency of their visits.

Some patients have lost the normal curve (lordosis) in their neck, probably from constant forward head carriage looking at computers etc. We recommend a Dennerol appliance that they can use at home to restore their normal neck arch and minimize the risk of relapse of neck pain.  We coach our patients in their posture using their phone (we teach them how to use their eyes instead of their neck). We teach them how to break the habit of sleeping on their front and how to watch TV and sit at their computer safely. After the pain has gone it’s all about prevention. We don’t want you coming back time and time again with the same problem so we teach you how to avoid the causes of neck pain.