Osteopathy for Back and Neck Pain

Osteopathy is an effective way to treat joint, back and neck pain.

We use many techniques, learned during a 5-year university training (or equivalent), and refined by years of practice.

Our training gives a good background in the detailed anatomical study of the human body and its function, study of pathological processes, and an extensive hands-on training in different osteopathic techniques. This means that we can work out when and how it is safe to treat your back and neck pain, and when it is necessary to refer you to your GP or another modality.

Osteopaths use a wide variety of manual techniques to treat back and neck pain. The most often used are:

  • Massage
  • Stretching
  • Articulation (joints are passively taken through their range of motion by the practitioner)
  • Muscle Energy Techniques (used to lengthen tight, contracted muscles)
  • Counterstrain (releases tight muscles by positioning the affected muscle in a shortened position to stretch the opposing muscles)
  • Manipulations (short, quick movements used to improve joint range of motion)
  • Functional Techniques (gentle mobilisation of joints)
  • Cranial Osteopathy

Causes of Joint, Back and Neck Pain

Some of these underlying factors are:

  • Chronic poor posture
  • General stiffness or lack of fitness for the task
  • Repetitive actions unbalancing muscle use and causing repeated microinjury
  • Physical stressors e.g. cold, dehydration, side effects of medication
  • Accumulation of poorly resolved minor or major injuries over time

Whether your back ‘seizes up’ after a relatively minor event (sneezing, picking up a tissue) or after lifting badly, or trauma, it is often because these factors happened to add up to too much for your body to handle at the time.

Physical trauma can cause acute pain when the joints or soft tissues are damaged. At other times, your body feels that extreme measures are necessary to prevent damage, and reacts by over-tightening in a joint or area, causing itself more pain by muscle and ligament over-contraction or overstretch. Sometimes the reaction is too extreme for the situation and may cause more irritation and spasm.

Some types of trauma may have a greater effect, even on distant areas of the body.

  • Falls, especially onto hard surfaces
  • Falls onto the sacrum or coccyx, or head and neck
  • Motor Vehicle accidents

Whether your pain and stiffness came on suddenly or more gradually, a course of osteopathic treatment may relieve symptoms, and you may feel more flexible than you did before your injury.

Your osteopath may also advise certain specific exercises to mobilise or strengthen areas of the body to prevent recurrence of painful episodes. A referral to overall maintenance and exercise programs may be appropriate for longer-term functional improvements.