Jane O'Connor's Blog

The Mystery of the Unusual Neck Pain

Mystery of Neck Pain - The Osteopathic Practice

I recently treated a patient who had developed right sided neck pain with pain just above the collar bone. They hadn’t been involved in any accidents or injuries and hadn’t lifted anything heavy, which could have caused the pain.

When patients present with what is termed supraclavicular pain, one must always be aware of possible lung problems. The apex of the lung comes up under the first rib, just behind the collar bone. Most people don’t realise the lungs come up that high. As an Acupuncturist as well as an Osteopath, I have to be careful needling this area as there have been cases of needles puncturing the lung if the therapist isn’t very careful and aware of the anatomy.

As there were no lung symptoms and the lung sounds were clear, I decided to treat it as a musculoskeletal problem.

After going through their history in more detail I found out that, when working as a piano teacher, they always sat on the right of their student and so was constantly looking to their left. After many years of teaching, this had caused the neck muscles to tighten on the left side and overstretch on the right.

I did some work to release the tight muscles and prescribed some stretching exercises. I then told them to swap sides from time to time, to sit on the left of their student as well as their right. This meant that they then looked to the left some times and to the right at others; preventing the repetitive strain of constantly looking one way.

The pain eased very quickly with treatment and responded well to the swapping position routine.

Swapping sides or changing the direction that you look, can apply to anyone that works with their head turned constantly one way: copy typing; collating invoices; studying; off set computer screens to name a few examples. Try to change sides: don’t keep the book/invoices/screen/other person/ client on the same side ALL the time.

This also works for people sitting at an angle to watch TV. if you are always sitting with your head turned to one side to see the screen, you could be creating a chronic neck problem, so move your seat or move the screen so you can look straight ahead to avoid sitting for hours with the neck slightly rotated.

Leamington Osteopaths:

The Osteopathic Practice - 01926 335932