• Ian Thornley

A real pain in the neck!

Updated: Apr 15

One of the most common issues I see in clinic is neck pain and it can be, well, a real pain in

the you know what!


Many patients I see don’t know quite why they have a problem with their neck – some just wake up with it, others do a movement of some sort and find they are in pain. Some patients do of course - car accidents, falls and impact sports are examples which can leave the patient feeling a sore neck.


The cause of the pain is also varied – from simple posture related compensation strains to more complex mechanical injury and everything in between. Sometimes neck pain will not last very long and go as quickly as it arrived however should it last for more than a few days then you can, and should, get it checked out. Happily, most cases of neck pain can be relieved and managed with the appropriate treatment and care.


Whether you are suffering now or not here are a few tips to so you can look after your neck. In many cases these tips will also help manage pain if you have it as well.


1. Consider how you are sleeping. Make sure that your head and neck is well supported and in a comfortable, neutral position. If sleeping on your side it is common for pillows to be stacked too high or low, leaving one side of the neck stretched and the other compressed. Try to have pillows that allow the neck to relax in a neutral position. The same is true if sleeping on your back. Look for a pillow which is firm enough to give proper support - many feather and synthetic feather pillows don’t give the level of support needed.

2. How are you holding your phone? If you hold it low for long periods of time you will be looking down and flexing the neck forwards, putting strain on the back of the neck and upper back. You can try bringing the phone up more, therefore allowing the head to come up into a more neutral position as well. This does take some thinking about but is very beneficial when manage to do it. Don’t forget this applies to tablets as well.

3. Many of us will be working at home – more now than ever – and the correct set up of your workstation will help with neck pain ( as well as back pain, eye strain etc – so worth doing!). As much as possible try to have the screen at eye level, and the chair at a height which allows your feet to rest on the floor (or step if necessary), your knees you go under the desk and your arms to rest comfortably on the desk top. This can be difficult, especially if you are working at the dining table with a fixed height chair, but we can give advice to help with this as well!

And don't forget all the advice about moving at work still applies to the home office. More on this in my blog '5 simple tips to avoid back pain at work'.

4. Don’t forget to move. Gentle movement is generally good for neck pain, especially if comes on during the working day. Try to move within a comfortable range initially. We can advise you how to do this. It is often surprising how much difference gentle movement makes. One GREAT tip I give to patients who find it painful to move the head at all is to keep the head in position, looking straight forward, and then rotate the shoulders left and right. This will allow some movement in the neck without using the same muscles that are involved in moving the head. Perfect to get that initial movement going.


There are many causes of neck pain and as with any pain or injury, if it continues for more than a few days, or is getting worse you need to get a proper assessment, diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Find relief from neck pain and be seen by out expert osteopath, Ian.

If you would like a free chat before deciding to book please give us a call. We are here to help you. You are safe in our hands and you can start your healing process. Your health is Ian’s passion.


While we are not seeing patients face to face at this time (April 2020) we will be able to assess you via video telehealth.


See here for the NHS guidelines.

© Copyright Ian Thornley Osteopathy 2020 | Privacy Policy

                                                                    Infection Control Policy