Understanding Cervical Spine Radicular Pain: Why Your Manual Osteopath Doesn’t Always Go Right to Where It Hurts

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Understanding Cervical Spine Radicular Pain

Cervical spine radicular pain is a condition where pain radiates from your neck down through your shoulders, arms, and even into your hands. This pain is often caused by irritation or compression of the nerves in your neck.

As a patient visiting a manual osteopath, it’s common to focus on a specific area of pain or discomfort. However, you might notice that your manual osteopath doesn’t immediately treat the area where you feel the most pain. This approach can seem puzzling at first, but it is rooted in the holistic philosophy of osteopathy, as taught by Dr. A.T. Still, the founder of osteopathy.

In osteopathy, pain is an important signal that something is wrong in the body, but it is not always the most reliable indicator of the underlying issue. In osteopathy, pain is not considered the primary way to diagnose issues. This means that while pain should not be ignored, it is not the dominant factor in diagnosing and treating dysfunction. Instead, osteopathic practitioners prioritize motion as the primary way to diagnose problems.

Motion: The Key to Osteopathic Diagnosis

Osteopathy emphasizes the importance of movement and its role in health. That the body functions best when all its structures and parts move as they are designed to. Motion ensures proper circulation of blood, lymph, as well as nerve flow/signalling, which are essential for nourishing tissues, removing waste and proper function of all tissues.

  • Active Motion Testing: Your osteopath might ask you to move certain parts of your body to see how well they work.
  • Passive Motion Testing: Your osteopath moves parts of your body while you stay still to check their range of motion.

By comparing the movement of both sides of your body, your manual osteopath can determine which areas are not moving as they should. These areas often place strain on other parts of the body, leading to pain and dysfunction.

The Holistic Approach to Treating Pain

When you visit a manual osteopath with cervical spine radicular pain, your practitioner may not immediately focus on your neck. Instead, they will assess your entire body to identify any areas of restricted motion that could be contributing to your pain. This holistic approach ensures that the root cause of the issue is addressed, rather than just the symptoms.

The Anatomy of Connection

Your neck is connected to other parts of your body through muscles, ligaments, and fascia. For example, the scalene muscles connect your neck to your ribs, and the levator scapulae muscle connects your neck to your shoulder blade. The erector spinae muscles run from your pelvis to the base of your skull.

These connections mean that tension or problems in one area can affect other parts of your body. For example, an issue in your pelvis can lead to neck pain. That’s why your osteopath might treat your lower back or shoulders to help with your neck pain.

By treating areas of restricted movement, your osteopath can help relieve your cervical spine radicular pain and improve your overall health. Understanding this approach can help you see why your manual osteopath might not immediately focus on where you feel pain.

By looking at the body as a whole and prioritizing movement, they can identify and treat the root causes of your discomfort. This holistic approach, rooted in the teachings of osteopathy, aims to restore balance and promote the body’s natural ability to heal.

At the Armoury clinic, we are committed to providing comprehensive care that addresses your unique needs. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment, please feel free to discuss them with your practitioner. We are here to help you achieve optimal health and wellness.

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