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Neck pain and stiffness

By Matt Blackburn.

What causes neck pain and what can help?

Neck problems  can be  uncomfortable and painful and osteopaths have a different approach.

If you have had a painful or restricted neck you may have often  noticed that other areas of  your body are also distressed, such as your upper or lower back or hips ?
A long time ago humans evolved to walk on two legs. Our necks adapted to support our heads in the upright position. The cervical spine, which consists of seven vertebrae muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, nerves and vital organs, needed to move freely to support our head, and allow us to look straight ahead for danger.

As an osteopath , I am interested to see how other parts of the body may contribute to neck pain.

I often use my hands to examine and release tension in the upper and middle ribs, upper and lower back and pelvis before working on the neck. My aim is to improve other areas that support good function of the neck and so help the whole body feel and move better.
Techniques I may use in treatment include: soft tissue, inhibition and stretching of tight muscles, articulation of joints of the neck, ribs, shoulders and upper back and neural release of specific cervical nerves and their surrounding layers or dura.

Here are some things that may contribute to neck problems:

  • Sustained neck postures such as looking down at mobile phones, tablets and laptops
  • Slouching and poor sitting posture
  • Poor work ergonomics particularly  with computer use.
  • Excessive overhead lifting of weights.

Habits that may assist good neck function include:

  •  Attending to posture, head neck shoulders in line.
  • Regular walking heel to toe.
  • Shoulder rolls and upper back stretches.
  • Avoiding wearing high heels.

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