Zoe’s neck pain causes her headaches

January 4, 2016


I have been seeing a chiropractor for many years for neck pain which gives me terrible headaches that always last 3 days, however I recently had a brilliant couple of deep tissue massages abroad and was told that I had a shoulder problem which was causing the bad neck & I felt a lot better for a week but then the pain returned.

Sleeping is painful on my side but if I sleep on my back it hurts my lower back! I had a frozen shoulder 3 years ago too. I would love to find some relief for this problem as the impact on my life is just getting worse and worse but as I am 60 now I wonder if it is too late, would you be able to help me?

Thank you

January 4, 2016

Hi Zoe

Too late at 60? No chance, the fun’s only just beginning.

There becomes a bit of a dilemma – does a dodgy neck cause you to move badly to protect the neck but in doing so alters the way you move and control your arm causing a shoulder issue or does an issue with the way you move your painful shoulder put excessive laid and stress though your neck to decrease the shoulder pain? Both are very viable and intertwined situations – it’s about drivers and passengers. You need to give the driver directions to get the passengers to their final destination…back seat drivers are a real pain….

It’s not a case of who you’ve seen and it’s not a cause of who’s done what and it’s not a case of who makes your feel better. Getting somebody to feel better is simple, getting them better is slightly trickier.

Just as you don’t wake up with a dodgy neck or shoulder without a memorable incident to cause an issue, your symptoms are just that. But if you don’t know why you’ve got symptoms then you can’t have the cause treated and so your symptoms will linger (and most likely alter too).

Either way, you’ve got a really stiff thoracic spine – this is the number 1 cause of gradual onset, insidious neck and shoulder pain. Just as patients with ongoing headaches, neck and shoulder problems will have a stiff thoracic spine. Your painful sleeping position is also a give away for a stiff thoracic spine too……

This is where you need to have the vast majority of your hands on manual treatment directed. Pushing, poking and rubbing things that feel sore will only make you feel better – but will never get you any better. You will also need to have some decent rehab exercises to control your neck and shoulder movement (not range, just control of what you do) to get you better, long term.

At a guess – I think you’ve got a “central” issue (the way you move your neck – too much with not enough control) giving you an issue with your control around your shoulder and neck, so go easy on having your neck crunched as you don’t need no move movement up there!

Get your thoracic spine moving, don’t expect your symptoms to go overnight and improve your postural…especially reading this on a device or laptop!!

Try this stretch… you’ll love this!

The Guru

Six Physio

Guru Responded

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