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Sara asked...

Should I see a physiotherapist or an osteopath?

I have been having neck pain for quite a while and it's worse when I change my pillows. There is a burning pain at a point in my neck, but I don't really know what type of professional to see. Would you recommend a physiotherapist or an osteopath etc?

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The answer

Thank you for contacting us here at Ask the Expert.

Sara, as we get older our backs, in particular our lower back and the area of our necks and shoulders take on a lot of pressure and wear and tear.

The neck pain you are experiencing may be related to tension in the shoulder area or trapped nerves or physical changes to your spinal discs as a result of wear and tear.

Initial treatment to help ease the discomfort can include:

  • Changing the position in which you sleep ensuring that your head is in alignment with your spine.
  • Ensuring you have a supportive mattress and pillow
  • Analgesia and anti-inflammatories
  • Heat packs / hot towels to improve circulation to the muscles and ease tension

If the discomfort and pain continues then seeing your GP would be a good idea as then further investigations can be carried out such as MRI scans.

Seeing a Physiotherapist or Osteopath may also help as they can manipulate the area, realign your body and give you exercises to improve and strengthen damaged or weakened muscles.

If the above suggestions do not help then your GP may well suggest that you have procedures such as injections to the affected area to ease your pain.

Wishing you all the best and a speedy recovery.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

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