Welcome to my monthly column on a variety of symptoms and ailments. In a former column I touched on the ill effects that bad posture can have on the production of headaches. This month I thought it might be beneficial to discuss pain located in the neck itself, as so many of my patients currently seem to be suffering with this type of complaint.
The majority of adults will, at some point, be affected by neck or upper shoulder pain. It is an area we all use a great deal in our day-to-day lives, and for many of us is the location where we hold much of our stress and tension. Indeed, the first thing that many patients say is “I’m particularly stressed at the moment, do you think that’s why my neck has started to hurt?” and for some this may have been a trigger for a recent bout of neck pain. But, it is important to understand that it is very uncommon for stress alone to be a cause of pain. It is usually an indicator that there is a longer standing problem underneath, which prior to the increase in stress hadn’t yet manifested as neck pain.
Posture is the usually the first and most obvious cause of any spinal pain. Now, that doesn’t just involve those that sit at desks all day whilst working, it relates to all tasks and movements of the body. Everything we do is reflected in our tissues from head to toe, and since we mainly contact the ground through our feet any thing above there will have to fall in to line with the area directly below it, and at the end of that chain is the neck and head.
Located in the head are the eyes, ears, nose and mouth, inlets and outlets for the senses which we so vitally need to function. One of the bodies main concerns is to keep those senses level so that we have an even perspective on the world around us. The last line of defence for this movement is located in the neck, particularly the top 3 joints. If the body is felt to be too bent forward or backward the 1st joint will compensate, if there is a twist through the back then the 2nd joint will reverse this and if there is a side ways movement occurring the 3rd joint will help level it up.
This is an important concept to understand as when things go wrong we are looking at a break down in the body’s inherent ability to compensate. This fits perfectly with the saying ‘the straw that broke the camels back’. So, what seems like a sudden episode of neck pain may have been building up for many years and eventually with a very small change in use or a very small injury someone can suffer pain that just won’t clear on its own.
As an osteopath I am trained to look at all aspects of a persons body, their movements, and their day-to-day tasks, to reduce the negative parts which are contributing and encourage tasks which promote even movement.
As with all medical conditions a correct diagnosis is of paramount importance for the appropriate treatment and management of the condition. For more information on the clinic, to discuss a particular case, or to book and appointment please call Tristan Hill on 01949 839 238