Did you know that approximately 1 in 3 adults experience neck pain at least once a year? It’s not surprising that it is a common reason that our patients come into the clinic seeking osteopathic treatment. Research shows that neck pain is more persistent in people who have experienced back pain. As osteos who regularly treat patients with neck and back pain, we’ll share some simple steps to follow to reduce the risk of strain in your daily life. Read on to find out about the types of neck pain, and how osteopathic treatment could help.
Function of the neck
The neck, or cervical spine, contains the smallest vertebrae in the spinal column. It has several very important functions: to support the head and its range of motion, to allow blood to flow to the brain, and to protect the spinal cord.
What are the common symptoms of neck pain?
Neck pain is usually acute, which means it resolves within a few days or weeks. If it persists for longer than 3 months, it is considered chronic.
The common symptoms of neck pain include:
- Muscle tightness, stiffness, and a decreased range of motion
- Persistent aching
- Pain that worsens when moving
- Stabbing or sharp pain
- Pain that radiates to the head, shoulders, and arms
What are the common causes of neck pain?
Neck aches can be caused by something minor like sleeping in an awkward position or sitting at your desk for too long.
Some common causes of neck pain include:
- Poor posture
- Overuse and strain from sitting for long periods at the computer, or straining while holding your smartphone
- Slouching forward, or straining while driving
- Awkward sleeping position
- Whiplash caused by vehicle accidents
- Sports injuries
Less commonly, neck pain can be caused by serious illness or infection. If you have severe pain accompanied by fever, or numbness in your arms or legs, or you have injured your neck in a fall or accident, be sure to seek medical treatment from a doctor promptly.
How to prevent neck pain?
While it can’t always be avoided, there are some simple steps to reduce your risk of experiencing a strain, including:
- Practice good posture when sitting and standing, especially for prolonged periods of time. If you need help to resolve postural issues, come and see us!
- Reduce stress/tension by stretching, practicing yoga or meditating regularly.
- Use a backpack instead of a shoulder bag when carrying a heavier load to distribute the weight evenly.
- Check the ergonomic setup of your workstation – adjust your chair or screen to make sure the top of your monitor is at eye level. Keep your head straight, and your shoulders tracking directly above your hips.
- Check your pillow – is it too soft or too firm? When was the last time you replaced it? You may need to try different pillows to find the right fit.
How to treat neck pain at home
You can manage some mild neck aches at home. Some of the treatments we like include:
- Heat or ice therapy.
- Modifying activities that aggravate or cause discomfort.
- Gentle movement and stretching to prevent the area from tightening further.
How can osteopathic treatment help?
As osteos, we commonly treat neck and back aches in the clinic. Whether your symptoms are acute or chronic, osteopathic treatment could help get to the bottom of them. When a patient comes into the clinic with neck pain or discomfort, we will use a range of soft tissue techniques, including massage therapy, joint manipulation, and stretching which may help to increase blood flow to the area, reduce tightness, and restore your range of motion. If you need help to manage your symptoms, come and see us. We will assess your symptoms and come up with a treatment plan to get you back to your best. Call us on (03) 8774 9600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.