Osteopathy treatment for neck and shoulder pain Harpenden

Neck & shoulder pain

Neck and/or shoulder pain is incredibly common
and can strike any of us at any time. Swift intervention, such as
treatment by an osteopath, can be highly effective.

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Why does my neck hurt?

Neck pain or a stiff neck is very common and often improves after a few days. It is not usually a sign of an underlying condition but any pain which persists should always be discussed with your GP.

A stiff or painful neck can have a number of causes including muscle tension resulting from stress or anxiety, sleeping awkwardly, sudden or unnatural movement, sitting in a draft, or poor sitting posture, for example when using a computer.

Osteopaths are very familiar with treating neck problems – it’s a very common complaint. An osteopath will work to identify the cause of your pain and treat you accordingly. He or she may advise a range of lifestyle changes to improve or prevent problems, depending on your condition and presenting symptoms. Advice may include:

  • changing your pillow – in many cases, the pillow we sleep on forces our neck into an unnatural position
    making postural changes, including sitting posture
  • keeping your neck mobile
  • neck stretches and exercises
  • putting in place more opportunities for relaxation

Please note that the above information is very brief and condensed; for proper diagnosis and treatment, please see your GP or Osteopath

What’s wrong with my shoulder?

Pain in the shoulder area can be caused by any number of factors including nerve pain, muscular tension, bone fracture, arthritis, rotator cuff disorders, problems in the neck, pain from the biceps muscles or joints at the front of the shoulder, issues with the thoracic spine, frozen shoulder or shoulder instability. The pain can be felt in various areas including the shoulder blade, between the neck and shoulder, the top of the shoulder, the upper arm and even the lower arm and hand.

The type of pain may give an indication as to the cause. For example:

  • burning pain may be suggestive of nerve pain
  • a general aching may suggest an issue with bones or joints
  • aching after activity is often muscular
  • sharp stabbing pains could indicate that internal structures are rubbing or catching against each other

Shoulder pain can improve quickly but it is also known for taking longer to improve than other joints. If the problem shows little sign of improvement, visit your GP for a diagnosis so that you can start appropriate treatment as quickly as possible. You may be prescribed painkillers or anti-inflammatories, recommended to use an ice pack or avoid activity that involves the shoulder, or you may be referred to a specialist in shoulder problems.

Osteopaths are also experienced in treating shoulder problems and can help by mobilising the shoulder and the surrounding joints, or massaging surrounding muscles to release tension. Another useful form of treatment can be ultrasound by a trained practitioner.

Please note that the above information is very brief and condensed; for proper diagnosis and treatment, please see your GP or Osteopath

A note on frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder is a painful condition caused by thickening and inflammation in the tissue around the shoulder joint leading to pain, stiffness and limited range of movement. While some cases may improve over a two-year period, for some the problems can continue for several years.

Getting treatment early is key to improving your chances of a quicker recovery. Treatment will vary according to the severity of symptoms and the stage the condition has reached but can include painkillers, anti-inflammatories, shoulder exercises, osteopathy or corticosteroid treatment.

Please note that the above information is very brief and condensed; for proper diagnosis and treatment, please see your GP or Osteopath