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The Treatment of Neck Pain

The Neck (C-Spine - Csp)

There are seven vertebrae that make up the spine in the neck (the cervical vertebrae) that surround the spinal cord and canal. Between these vertebrae are discs, and nearby pass the nerves of the neck.

There are many structures that make up the neck as a whole. These structures include the skin, neck muscles, arteries, veins, lymph glands, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, oesophagus, larynx, and trachea. Diseases or conditions that affect any of these tissues of the neck can lead to neck pain.

What is Neck Pain?

Pain in the neck area can be due to:

  • Muscular Spasm
  • Ligament Sprain
  • Facet Joint Restriction
  • Disc Pathology (Injury)


It is thought most people will suffer neck pain at some point in their life. If you have had neck pain then you know the discomfort can range for the very mild to very severe.

What causes Neck Pain?

There is a wide range of causes of neck pain and below are just a few:

  • Trauma or injury
  • Stress
  • Sleeping in an awkward (mainly after a few drinks or a long day and you hit the sofa)
  • Prolonged use of a computer keyboard in an incorrect posture (read our posture section)
  • Driving long distance
  • New exercises
  • Incorrect posture during exercise
  • Road traffic accidents


How is neck pain diagnosed?

Whether you are seeing an Osteon Physiotherapist, Osteopath, Sports Massage Therapist or Acupuncturist the whole team is highly trained in the diagnostic skills necessary to diagnose the problem as soon as possible. It is important to say that a diagnosis can change at subsequent appointments as the body is a moving entity, as we treat and repair one area a new problem may arise. This may happen until we get the whole unit moving correctly.

During the initial part of any treatment your therapist will note the location, intensity, duration, and radiation of the pain among other questions surrounding your pain. We then examine the area using active and passive movement to ascertain what movements you can and can't do. This also allows your therapist to narrow down the affected tissues. We will on occasion refer you to you GP or A&E (this is very rare) if we feel that you need a medical intervention for your neck pain.

Further tests of undiagnosed neck pain can include; X-Rays CAT scans, MRI scans and electrical tests such as electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity test (NCV) to name a few.

What does neck pain feel like?
  • General pain located in the neck area, as well as stiffness in the neck muscles
  • The pain may radiate down to the shoulder or between the shoulder blades
  • It may also radiate out into the arm, the hand or up into the head, causing a one-sided or double-sided headache
  • The muscles in the neck are tense, sore and feel hard to the touch
  • Acute pain can give rise to abnormal neck posture in which the head is forced to turn to one side
  • The pain at the base of the skull may be accompanied by a feeling of weakness in the shoulders and arms
  • There may be a prickly or tingling sensation in the arms and fingers


What is the treatment for neck pain? The treatment of neck pain depends on its precise cause. Treatment options can include rest, heat or cold applications, traction, soft collar traction, physical therapy (ultrasound, massage, manipulation), local injections of cortisone or anaesthetics, topical anaesthetic creams, topical pain patches, muscle relaxants, analgesics, and surgical procedures. Here at Osteon we focus on the physical therapy side of treating your neck. We use techniques such as:

  • Massage
  • Remedial Massage Techniques
  • Soft Tissue Release
  • MET (Muscle Energy Techniques)
  • Neuromuscular
  • Joint articulation
  • Manipulation (Joint clicking)
  • Acupuncture
  • Ultrasound and Interferential


We will even give you where necessary the advice and exercises (which can include stretches) to help you get back to full functioning health as quickly as possible.

For more information please call us on 020 7043 6025 or click here to request a callback