As an Osteopath, I see many patients presenting with neck pain, normally originating from the base of the head or shoulderblades. Such was the case of patient Nick L. who came to see me for a neck pain last week.
On closer inspection after a few tests a sub-acromial impingement was discovered. This is when the tendon of one of the shoulder muscles (Supraspinatus) - whose job is to elevate the arm out sideways and to the front - gets trapped under the joint between the collarbone and shoulderblade.
Symptoms other then neck pain will include:
Shoulder pain extending from the top of the shoulder to the elbow
Pain when lying on the sore shoulder
Muscle weakness or pain when attempting to reach or lift
Pain when reaching for your seatbelt
Pain when putting your hand behind your head or back
The most common causes of this injury are tennis, golf, freestyle swimming or other physical activities that require repeated overhead arm movements, on top of an already existing faulty neck bio-mechanics.
The end result can often be compression of the lower neck. Failing to resolve the shoulder issue will very likely mean a chronic situation and a lost opportunity of a full recovery. Shoulderblade, upperback and ribs are inter-dependant for each other’s smooth movement and a break in any part of that articular chain can lead to problems.
Treatment of this patient consisted of improving movement, both articular and muscle flexibility. Specific soft tissue techniques were used to increase shoulder function and de-compress the base of the neck to free up any nerve root compression. He will need no more than 3-4 sessions.
So…should you ever suffer neck pain…consider this…maybe it’s your shoulder?