See an osteopath for neck pain if:

  • your neck pain is worse when you first wake up in the morning but then begins to feel a little better as the day progresses
  • you’ve had assessment and treatment elsewhere that didn’t quite deal with your neck pain, but did help a little
  • you’ve had chronic pain, been through medical investigations by specialists, and been told “there’s nothing wrong”
  • you wake with a sudden sharp pain that makes you wary to turn or side-bend your neck (unassociated with a fall/hit to the head whilst diving/trauma)
  • you can’t turn your head without severe neck pain
  • your neck pain or stiffness does not improve after a few days
  • you feel like you need to use over-the-counter pain medications just to make it through the day
  • you use over-the-counter pain medications  regularly to treat your neck pain
  • you’re worried that your neck pain may have a serious cause
  • your neck pain started in the neck but has moved to numbness or tingling in your hands or wrists
  • your neck pain started within a few days of a car accident
  • your neck pain is associated with headache, back pain, rib pain, breathing restriction or shoulder pain

Neck pain is common and is rarely due to serious disease. Less than 1% of neck pain is due to a serious medical condition. To get better faster, and to prevent more problems, stay active, and don’t use a neck brace unless prescribed by a registered health professional.

See a Medical Doctor/GP for neck pain if:

  • neck pain that occurred in conjunction with a traumatic injury, such as a motor vehicle collision, a diving accident or being ‘dumped’ in the waves (especially if you are over 50 years old)
  • neck pain that sends jolts down an arm, or both arms
  • neck pain if you have osteopenia or osteoporosis (bone weakening or loss of bone density)
  • neck pain that is worse at night, and keeps you awake, or wakes you
  • neck pain with unexplained loss of weight (particularly rapid loss) or associated loss of interest in food
  • neck pain  have a history of cancer anywhere
  • neck pain that does not diminish with rest
  • neck pain associated with a new change to bowel or bladder habits, such as not being able to control excretion of urine and faeces, or not being able to urinate
  • neck pain that is worse when you lie down
  • neck pain that is associated with the onset of arm or leg weakness or numbness, or trouble walking, speaking or swallowing properly
  • any of the above symptoms along with nausea or vomiting.
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