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Osteopathic Management for Acute Neck Pain

Acute neck pain is no picnic! Just about everyone has had that ‘pain in the neck’ at some point in their life. When it happens, it can make life hugely miserable until it goes away. People who experience it often find that it suddenly comes on without warning and can be quite painful for several days. It can be difficult and painful to achieve your usual range of motion, in fact, sometimes it is impossible to move your head even slightly. There are many potential causes of acute neck pain that are related to soft tissue or muscular sprain and to other areas as well.

Some Causes of Acute Neck Pain:

It can happen due to a number of reasons, such as:

  • Whiplash – due to a car accident, for instance, where your body is suddenly jarred,
  • Straining the neck due to over exertion in exercise or because of heavy lifting,
  • A pinched nerve in the neck,
  • Sleeping in an unusual position or sitting at a computer for too long in a non-ergonomic position,
  • Stress, causing you to move in a certain way, tensing your muscles for long periods of time,
  • An underlying medical issue where acute neck pain is a side effect of the issue.

The above isn’t an exhaustive list of reasons for sudden onset of neck pain but gives you an idea of the fact that many issues could be causing neck pain. Sometimes, the pain goes away on its own after a day or two. Other times it lasts longer.

Many things could help, such as pain relievers, muscle relaxers, muscle rubs or sprays, hot or cold compresses, and perhaps sometimes, even a neck brace. An osteopath could also help you by treating you and making recommendations to help your neck heal more speedily and more completely.

Should You See an Osteopath About Your Acute Neck Pain?

Osteopathic medicine can be a big help for those suffering from neck pain or other musculoskeletal issues. Osteopathic treatment can be done both reactively and proactively for overall health and well-being. Many osteopath patients benefit from soft tissue massage, gentle mobilisation movements and manipulation that can help heal you faster from the pain and limitation of acute neck pain. Your osteopath can also make recommendations for exercise and good ergonomics as well as coping with stress that can help you to minimise future neck, shoulder and back pain problems.

If you’re in need of advice from a Sydney osteopath, contact the team from Sydney Osteopathic Medicine. Our Osteopaths have extensive experience in the treatment of acute neck pain.

Osteopathic Pain Management

The primary objective of osteopathic pain management is to develop the patient’s maximum physical, social, psychological and vocational well-being. At Sydney Osteopathic Medicine, pain management is integrated with rehabilitation, which not only focuses on ‘pain relief‘ but amplifies the focus on ‘return to optimal human function’.

Our aim is to reduce or minimize medication dependency and at the same time focus on the development of a positive self concept and the fulfillment of long term goals – many of which may have been limited by the patients experience of pain.

  1. Clarify the diagnosis
  2. Provide pain relief, improve pain control, and eliminate pain
  3. Help the patient to become more comfortably active and return to normal function
  4. Educate patients and reduce the fear of pain and injury
  5. Teach appropriate and efficient body movement and postural awareness
  6. Reduce dependency on medication or frequent physical treatment
  7. Address the general health and well-being of the patient

The strategies and techniques we use to achieve these goals include advice and education, physical and manual therapies such as manipulation of the joints or relaxation techniques for muscles, movement correction, postural education and exercise rehabilitation.

In order to benefit from our experience and expertise in the osteopathic treatment of pain, please call to make an appointment or to speak with one of our practitioners.

What can I do about my low back pain?

International guidelines for the treatment of back pain make the following recommendations (which we agree with):

  1. consult a health professional trained in the management of low back pain
  2. try to keep active and act as usual
  3. use simple analgesics (like paracetamol or ibuprofen) following the instructions on the packet and on the advice of your pharmacist
  4. consider a course of spinal manipulative therapy by consulting a health professional trained and experienced in this treatment approach
  5. avoid bed rest

 

Who can provide treatment for people with low back pain?

It is advisable to consult a practitioner with specific training in the evaluation and treatment of low back pain. In Australia, osteopaths, physiotherapists, chiropractors and medical doctors are legally allowed to perform spinal manipulation; however medical doctors do not undergo training in spinal manipulation procedures as part of their basic training.  Look for a practitioner with specific training in low back pain and who stays up-to-date.  Also look for a practitioner who has a lot of experience in treating low back pain.

 

What to avoid?

It is a good idea to check out the credentials of your practitioner, and word-of-mouth referrals are also a great way for people to receive feedback about a certain practitioner.  Avoid unnecessary x-rays or treatment that is painful or prescribed too often.

 

Warning: symptoms you should see your health professional about

It’s rare that back pain is caused by a trauma, illness or disease – in fact it’s only around 1-2%.  Even though it’s rare, it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for tell-tale signs that let us know you should consult your doctor.  Things like:

  1. pain in the area of the kidneys (at the back under your ribs)
  2. pain that you can’t relieve by changing positions
  3. numbness or tingling in the ‘saddle’ area (or perineum)
  4. weight loss that you can’t explain
  5. fevers, temperatures or chills
  6. changes to your bowel or bladder habits
  7. numbness or weakness in your legs, feet or toes

 

Summary

Back pain is usually caused by the joints and ligaments of the spine – but in many cases the exact cause is hard to figure out.  What’s important is to identify if you’re doing anything to aggravate the pain and then learn how to move without pain.  International guidelines also recommend a course of spinal manipulation.  An experienced health professional with specific training in this area can be very helpful in terms of providing treatment and helping you learn how to move differently.  Assessment and evaluation is also important in order to make sure you receive the correct treatment and to rule out rare causes of back pain that require specific medical treatment.

The osteopaths at Sydney Osteopathic Medicine have years of experience in the treatment of patients with lower back pain.  We provide an osteopathic approach to each patient that incorporates the best available scientific evidence regarding the diagnosis, treatment and management of this spinal pain condition.

 

Phone now for a consultation on (02) 9233 2788.

We are conveniently located in the Sydney CBD, near Wynyard Train Station.