The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends osteopathy for the treatment of non-specific neck pain. This includes neck pain caused by postural issues, neck strain, sports injuries, anxiety and depression (NICE CKS, 2015).
Neck pain and stiffness can be localised, but may also radiate to the head causing headaches, or to the upper back, shoulders and arms. If a nerve root in the neck has been irritated, you may also experience pins and needles, numbness or weakness in your hands, arms and even down into your legs. Nerve root irritation is usually caused by a bulging disc or ‘wear and tear’ to the facet joints at the back of the spine.
What Causes Neck Pain?
- Lifestyle factors eg. sleeping position, prolonged computer use
- Postural issues
- Stress, anxiety or depression
- ‘Wear and tear’ to the neck joints (osteoarthritis)
- Disc bulge or prolapse
- Muscle strain
How can Osteopathy Help with Neck Pain?
An osteopath will do a thorough assessment to work out the cause of your neck pain. If osteopathic treatment is appropriate, it may include soft tissue massage and mobilisation of the neck and spine. The aim is to reduce pain, improve ease of movement and increase resilience to further episodes of neck pain. An osteopath will also give you advice on lifestyle, posture and exercises to do at home. In some instances, you may be referred to your GP for a scan, X-ray or other tests to rule out possible underlying conditions. Read more about osteopathic treatment.
Shoulder pain is usually caused by a problem with the muscles, joints or tendons within the shoulder complex itself, or referred from the neck, upper back or ribs. Osteopath, Emma Lipson has had extensive training in treating many types of shoulder pain and is also a certified NAT (Niel Asher Technique) practitioner. NAT is an evidence-based non-invasive approach for treating frozen shoulder.
Common Causes of Shoulder Pain
- Lifestyle factors such as repetitive use of your arm in certain positions such as painting or hairdressing
- ‘Frozen’ Shoulder
- Rotator Cuff Injury
- Subacromial Impingement
- Wear and tear (osteoarthritis) of the shoulder joints
- Upper rib or back restrictions
- Muscle strain
When Shoulder Pain is More Serious
Sometimes shoulder pain is not due to a problem in the shoulder or upper back, but is referred pain from an internal organ such as the heart, liver or gallbladder. It can also be due to certain inflammatory conditions which require specialist medications. In your first consultation, your osteopath will conduct a thorough health history to work out the cause of your pain, and if necessary refer you to your GP for further tests or scans.
How can Osteopathy Help with Shoulder Pain?
Osteopathic treatment will aim to reduce your shoulder pain, improve flexibility and speed your recovery. Treatment may include soft tissue massage, mobilisation and strengthening work to the shoulder, neck and back. An osteopath will also give you advice on lifestyle, posture and exercises to do at home. Read more about osteopathic treatment.