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Your neck supports the weight and movement of your head – quite a job, since an adult’s head can weigh between ten and fourteen pounds! It also contains the vast majority of nerves that reach from your brain to the rest of your body, like a pipe full of fibre-optic cables. With the amount of driving, computer work and TV watching that most of us do, it’s not surprising that we need a little treatment to help keep our necks doing their job properly.
Our practitioners treat problems with your joints, bones and muscles, and the effects they have on your nervous system. Working on all the joints of your body, concentrating particularly on the spine, they use their hands to make gentle, specific spinal adjustments to improve the efficiency of your nervous system and release your body’s natural healing ability. Our treatments don’t involve the use of any drugs or surgery.
The further away from your body you hold something, the heavier it feels. Neck pain may often be caused by the long-term effect of bad posture, especially when you regularly hold a weight too far from your body. This might be:
The result is a loss of proper movement of the joints in your neck, which may interfere with the healthy working of the nerves that run through it. It can lead to pain, although it may take days, weeks or even months to develop.
Not just a pain in the neck
Loss of proper joint movement may cause irritation of the nerves that come out of your spine. This, in turn, can lead to pain where the nerves end. This is known as ‘referred’ pain. You may already know about sciatica, which is leg pain often caused by nerve irritation in the lower spine. Brachialgia means ‘pain in the arm’, and may be caused by nerve irritation in the neck. This is why your neck may be treated when you have consulted your practitioner about shoulder and arm problems including:
Keep your joints moving properly
Osteopathy and Chiropractic, unlike painkilling drugs, treats the cause of pain, not just the pain itself. Your practitioner will carry out a full examination, and ask you questions about your posture, medical history and lifestyle, to help diagnose the cause of your neck, shoulder or arm pain. Then your treatment will begin, often with gentle, specific spinal adjustments done by hand, to free stiff joints and reduce nerve irritation. This effective drug-free treatment is generally painless, although you may feel some short-term discomfort if your neck is very sore. Your practitioner may also recommend ice or heat treatment, massage and rehabilitative exercises and/or stretches.
Is it safe to adjust the neck?
Yes, 66-69% of visits to an Osteopath or Chiropractor include cervical (neck) adjustments. Recent publications suggest that this treatment is extremely safe, when carried out by a skilled individual.
How about wearing a collar?
Although in the acute stage a soft collar may be worn for a short time, collars should not be relied upon. If you become reliant on a collar, the muscles of your neck will become weaker as their job is being done by the collar. It is important, therefore, to have an active plan that involves ‘hands on’ treatment, ergonomic advice and possibly an exercise programme to help support the muscles and joints of your neck.
Is rolling your head good for your neck?
No. Many people in the past have been given neck or head rolling exercises to help stretch their necks. However, the joints in your neck are really designed for single movements like turning or looking up, down, left or right – not all of these movements together. A safer exercise may be just to do each of these movements individually.
The information provided is for general guidance only and must not be used for diagnosis or treatment of a health problem. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.