Chronic neck pain is the second most common complaint we see presenting at Alba Spinal Health Centre.

Two thirds of the UK population will suffer from neck pain at some point in their lives, which can be caused by spinal joint problems or muscular tightness in the neck and upper back.

Your neck not only supports the weight and movement of your head, but also contains the vast majority of nerves that connect from your brain to the rest of your body. With the amount of driving, computer work and other daily activities that most of us do, it is not surprising that we can need a little help to keep our necks doing their job.

Neck pain can be caused by the long-term effects of poor posture from bending, repetitive lifting or manual work. Losing the proper movement in the joints of your neck may interfere with the healthy working of the nerves that run through it - causing irritation to these nerves. This, in turn, can lead to pain where the nerves end, also known as 'referred pain'.

Common symptoms that we can relieve include:

  • Pain
  • Aches
  • Weakness
  • Joint restriction

How can we help?

Young woman holding her neck in pain

Our holistic team is experienced (as well as highly trained) in treating neck pain.

During the period July 2012 to June 2015, 72 percent of our patients presenting with neck pain reported feeling much better two weeks after their first appointment.

During your initial consultation, your practitioner's main focus will be to identify what is painful and what is causing it to be painful. You will be involved in any decisions about your care, and your practitioner will give you advice on appropriate pain management strategies.

Your treatment is likely to be a package of care that may include:

  • Expert advice
  • Self-management
  • Manual therapies (including manipulation, mobilisation and soft tissue work)
  • Dry needling/medical acupuncture
  • Tailored exercise approaches
  • Psychologically informed care

You can also expect to receive advice on the appropriateness of undertaking exercises, being physically active and continuing normal daily activities as far as possible, as well as remaining in work, graded return and fit notes.

There are numerous conditions that can cause neck pain - including those listed at the top left-hand side of this page. Click for more information - especially the Headaches and Migraines section, which are commonly associated with neck pain.

How long will it take until I feel better?

This is very much down to the individual. As a rough guide, young, fit and healthy patients with more recent problems will probably take fewer adjustments; however, older, less fit or indeed the less healthy individual will probably take a few more.

Different conditions take different lengths of time to heal as well (for example, a facet joint sprain will heal a lot more quickly than a disc herniation).

At your Report of Findings (RoF) appointment, your practitioner will give you an informed estimate as to how long you can expect the course of care to take. They will keep you up to date with your prognosis throughout your care, and you will undergo a review appointment every six sessions; however, following your practitioner's advice is strongly recommended to help you to get better more quickly.

Also, 'better' means different things to different people. Some people come to see us merely to get out of pain, whereas the majority of people come to see us to get well and stay well. Some people with chronic conditions recognise the fact that they may always have some discomfort, but derive a huge amount of benefit from regular adjustments - keeping them functioning at their very best.

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