A very common presentation Osteopaths see in the clinic is neck pain. Neck pain can have a range of different causes. Some of the most common causes of neck pain are; prolonged desk or computer use, posture, sleeping position and stress/tension.
What is Osteopathy and what does an osteopath do?
Osteopathy is a non-invasive form of manual therapy that aims to improve the health of all the body systems. Osteopaths use a range of hands-on Osteopathic techniques to achieve and promote health in the body and take a holistic approach to the treatment and management of your injury and symptoms.
An Osteopath focuses on the musculoskeletal system, which is made up of the muscles, joints and spine. An Osteopathic approach to treatment is to focus on the musculoskeletal system with the aim to improve the function of the body’s nervous system, circulatory system and lymphatic system so our bodies can function at their optimal capabilities and promote health and healing of the body.
Benefits of seeing an Osteopath for neck pain
Neck pain is a very common presentation seen by Osteopaths. An Osteopathic approach to neck pain can be a very effective way to relieve your symptoms. Often when it comes to neck pain it can occur gradually and is not always clear what the cause of your pain. A range of different factors may influence your symptoms including; posture, strength, sleep and work ergonomics.
Dysfunction or injury to your neck or also known as your cervical spine may also cause referred pain to another area of your body including headaches, shoulder pain, jaw pain, referred pins and needles into your hands, upper back pain.
Common symptoms you may experience with neck pain may include tightness of your neck muscles, muscle spasm, a stiff neck and headaches.
Your Osteopath is highly qualified to examine your neck symptoms and determine the most probable cause and management plan to relieve your neck pain. This varies from person to person as there are so many factors that may be influencing your pain.
What may be causing your neck pain?
Some of the common causes of your neck pain can include:
- Trauma; sporting injuries, whiplash
- Sleeping posture
- Workstation posture
- Disc bulge
- Neck sprain
- Wry neck
Osteopathic Treatment for neck pain
Once your Osteopath has taken a thorough medical history and has assessed your neck pain, they will diagnose the cause of your symptoms. When it comes to neck pain your Osteopathic treatment plan will include manual therapy, advice and education on how to manage your symptoms and exercises prescription.
Osteopaths use a range of hands on techniques that can include:
- Joint mobilisation and articulation
- Soft tissue massage of the neck muscle and muscles surrounding your upper back and shoulders
- Stretching techniques
- Muscle energy technique (MET)
- Manipulation/ high velocity low amplitude technique (HVLA)
- Taping for support
What to expect during your first osteopathy session
On your first visit your Osteopath will introduce themselves to you and begin a conversation about the reasons for your visit. They will take a thorough case history and ask you questions about your current symptoms or injury, medical history, any medications you are taking or other factors that may be related to your concerns. This allows your osteopath to get a full picture of what may be causing your symptoms and other factors that may be influencing them, beginning the process of coming up with a treatment plan specific to you and your condition.
During the examination your Osteopath will go through a range of tests to help determine how to best treat and manage your condition. This may include orthopaedic testing, neurological testing, movement testing or postural assessments. During your examination your Osteopath may take you through some passive and active ranges of movement to examine the general movement and function of the area and how they function on a day to day basis. To ensure that the examination being performed can be achieved efficiently it is asked that you wear comfortable and appropriate clothing that will not restrict your movement.
Osteopaths take a holistic approach to treatment and doing so may assess areas of your body that aren’t specific to where you are experiencing your symptoms. For example if you come in with shoulder pain your Osteopath may assess your shoulder as well as your upper back, neck and elbow. Keeping in mind the first principle of Osteopathy ‘the body as a single unit’, sometimes we experience pain, discomfort or stiffness as a consequence of a body compensating with a previous injury or postural issue and it is your Osteopath’s job to identify this through your examination.
Your Osteopath can provide a large range of hands on techniques to improve mobility, function and encourage blood flow to the area. This may include soft tissue massage, joint articulation, muscle energy techniques, stretching, manipulation, taping and dry needling. In conjunction with hands-on treatment your osteopath may also prescribe exercises to do at home or work, ergonomic advice and lifestyle advice to compliment your in person treatment.
Our Osteopath at Pillar Health wants to get you back to doing what you love as quickly as possible. Your treatment is likely to include a combination of hands on treatment as well as at home exercise, postural advice, taping, or ergonomic advice. You do not need a referral to make an appointment with your Osteopath.
You can make an appointment at Pillar Health by calling the clinic on (03) 8899 6277 or online via our website.