Neck pain

Neck pain is becoming all too common and on the increase with the hidden stress we place on our necks using phones, tablets laptops and watching TV in awkward positions.

Chiropractic treatment of neck pain

I personally love treating neck pain and I have quite a unique approach, combining both my Chiropractic manipulation with my Alexander Technique training, which is learning how to avoid the stress and strain to the neck, particularly the postural muscles at the base of the occiput skull, which is such a large cause of neck pain and headaches.

Some clients require neck manipulation, whist there is also a large number of clients who either are too nervous or respond better when given deep muscle releasing treatment with traction, trigger point releasing.

Causes of neck pain

There are many causes of neck pain, and I will aim to discuss some of the more common causes, so of which are silent or hidden causes as they do not give pain at the time, but build up over many hours, repeated day after day until they begin to cause pain.

Text neck or text neck overuse syndrome

With the advent of smart phones this is such a big problem that I have written a full article about text neck which delves into the various health risks. In short we need to limit the time we spend looking down at our phones!

Sleeping prone on your stomach.

It’s almost impossible to sleep on your stomach without straining your neck. You will need to breathe, so in order to do this it will be necessary to turn your head to one side or the other, often in an extreme or strenuous position.  You may not feel the tightness, but the accumulation of many hours, days and years can lead to neck pain. Sleeping on your sides or back with the correct pillow shape and size to keep the neck in a ‘neutral’ position is very important.

Patient’s often say, ‘but it’s a habit and I’m just used to sleeping this way’. I understand it is a difficult habit to break, but one that can be broken over time and is sometimes necessary to help the neck pain settle and prevent recurrence.

Lying on the sofa or Bed watching TV

I’ve always found this very uncomfortable, even though I don’t have neck pain, so I don’t do this for anything other than short periods of time before changing my position.  It’s a huge hidden

Sitting on the sofa working on the laptop

This is a big killer for the neck and one that

Cradling the phone between your shoulder and ear

I’m staggered at often I go into a hotel reception lobby, or even my doctors surgery to see the receptionists taking multiple calls on the phone, without using a headset, yet they are still expected to write, or type and use the computer at the same time. It’s madness. I call it postural or neck hari-kari as it’s very likely to give you pain and I can only ask you now, please stop! Ask your boss for a cordless (NOT corded) headset so you can move about, be active and have two hands free to type and work. This raises health at work and safety issues, but there are now options to cater for all manner of working environments. If all else fails and you can’t do this, then you need to find a job which requires minimal phone use.

Falling asleep sitting on the sofa

I’m sure we’ve all done this, but it can give a nasty whiplash type jolt to the neck if we are not careful.


  • Constantly looking down
  • Typing, looking down at the desk

Acute neck pain are assessed as following:

  • full history regarding onset, cause, aggravating and relieving factors.
  • questioned about daily activities, work and lifestyle.
  • clinical examination with any necessary neurological examination.
  • Treatment options and prognosis will be given
  • Treatment will commence usually on the first visit, unless further examination, tests, review of scan or x-reports or referral for scans are required.
  • X-rays, CT or MRI is not required for non-traumatic acute neck pain, but considered if trauma caused the injury.
  • Patients with acute neck pain are recommended early treatment to prevent long-term disability.

The aim of treatment with acute neck pain is improve mobility to the neck, reduce pain and help patients return to work and their normal daily lives as soon as possible.

Treatment for acute neck pain includes:

  • Ice treatment or alternative anti-inflammatory treatments in the initial stages
  • Muscle releasing treatments, contract-relax, isometric, PNF and trigger point therapy.
  • Manipulation of the cervical spine if the patient agrees and not prevented by excessive muscle spasm.
  • Mobilisation, soft tissue therapies to the deep muscle spasm
  • Exercise and lifestyle advice
  • Encouragement and guidance how to remain active without causing further stress to the injury.