Neck pain can be very debilitating to live with. Over 7 million work days are lost every year in Ireland because of musculoketal problems including neck pain. 375 million euro is spent each year on treatment and that is not counting in the human cost in misery and dispair. If you have been suffering with neck pain, short term or prolonged, read on . . .
The neck is particularly sensitive to physical trauma, acting like a shock absorber during accidents. If you have ever watched one of those crash test dummy videos you can see how much trauma the neck absorbs.
What can complicate matters is the cause of the neck pain may be in another part of the body. For example, falling down stairs and landing hard on the coccyx, can manifest years later as chronic neck pain. From a craniosacral perspective a restriction in one part of the system affects the whole system, this is called the reciprocal nature of the craniosacral system.
The neck is also an area where people accumulate stress which can lead to conditions like headaches, or sleeping Difficulties.
Seemingly unrelated digestive disturbances can also be caused by restrictions in the neck. The vagus nerve passes down either side of the neck and supplies the digestive system. Trauma to the neck can affect this nerve and lead to digestive disturbances.
Restrictions in the neck can also manifest as strange sensations in the arms and hands.
The challenge with neck pain is finding the root of the problem. To understand why we get neck pain we need to take a closer look at how pain is caused.
Put simply, if nerves are squeezed they hurt. You can see this for yourself if you press the middle of your eyebrow. You might need to poke around to find the spot but when you do you’ll know because it hurts and it keeps hurting even after you stop pressing. What you are pressing on is a nerve – the ophthalmic branch of your trigeminal nerve to be exact.
All the nerves that supply your neck pass between vertebrae. Vertebrae are the boney building blocks of the spine. There are spacers between each vertebrae keeping them apart and stopping them from squeezing the nerves. These spacers are called discs.
Stacked on top of each other your vertebrae go to make up your vertebral column. At the centre of your vertebral column is your spinal cord.
All the nerves that supply your body emerge from your spinal cord and pass between your vertebrae. Your spinal cord is a very delicate structure and so is protected by a tough layer of membrane called Dura.
If you think of your vertebrae as beads in a necklace then this tube of dura would be the string. If the dura is tight in one part of your spine it will pull the vertebrae together, squeeze the nerves and cause pain.
The problems begin if there is any trauma to this vulnerable setup. Car accidents, falls, surgeries, strains, etc. all leave their mark. Your body is designed to repair itself but if it can’t, because the trauma is too overwhelming, it can leave patterns of restriction which include pressure on nerves and so lead to pain.
Many neck problems are caused by restriction patterns that were formed years beforehand. These restriction patterns have slowly contracted the surrounding tissue eventually putting pressure on nerves and causing pain.
The neck is also a prime location for storing emotion and trauma.
Unresolved neck pain is very stressful to live with and many people have surgical intervention to remedy the problem. From a craniosacral perspective, this complicates the problem by layering one trauma on another. Any invasion of the membrane surrounding the spinal cord like surgery can all leave patterns of restriction.
“I had Craniosacral Therapy for severe pain in my neck and shoulders. During the treatment, I experienced a state of deep relaxation and wonderful healing.
My neck and shoulder pain is gone and many other little complaints disappeared. My health has improved greatly, I am feeling more secure and my energy level has increased beyond my wildest dreams.”