The term cervical refers to a whole class of symptoms of painful nature localized on the cervical part of the spine.
In fact, there are many variations of neck pain: some patients report pain near the shoulder, the other in the middle of the cervical spine or at the base of the skull, some only during the execution of certain movements, others in a chronic way, some patients fail to maintain the vertical position of the head, others claim they feel like there's some "sand" while they move, and others have torticollis or painful"cords"on one of the two sides.
Osteopathy is useful in these cases because almost all of these problems have an osteopathic base.
It may be added that even the degenerative aspects (osteoarthritis) or chronic adaptations (straightening of lordosis, herniated disc) of the cervical spine are the result of a chronic lesion of a framework of osteopathic type.
Yet we must not forget the endocrine (thyroid), autonomic (vagus nerve) and hemodynamic (jugular veins) functions that can be influenced by osteopathic lesions involving the neck in a direct or indirect way.
In other words, the symptoms not only of a painful but also of a functional nature are very often localised in the cervical spine and they are sometimes very disabling.
Finally, one must consider the dynamics of whiplash but that deserves a separate discussion.
Despite the fact that the problems that are attributable to the cervical are a lot, from a statistical point of view we can say that the neck pain and the symptoms associated with it, practically never arise from problems of the cervical spine.
Indeed very often when the neck hurts the dynamics of the cervical vertebrae is absolutely physiological.
The fact is that the neck is not only intimately connected to the skeletal and musle structures of the skull and of the shoulder girdle adjacent to it but it is also an important transit route for vessels, nerves, airway and esophagus.
All of these parts may be subject to osteopathic lesions and therefore the fact that they are damaged may have an impact on the cervical spine.
Just consider that the first two/three cervical vertebrae offer an insertion to the external meninges, so any alteration of the craniosacral system can have an impact on the cervical spine, it was also localized at the level of the coccyx or of a cranial suture.
Furthermore at the level of C5 -C6- C7 there is the insertion of pericardial ligaments that support not only the heart and great vessels but also the diaphragm (the breathing muscle) and consequently the organs and diaphragmatic bands above and below.
As a result any osteopathic lesion localized in the visceral area or at least close to the diaphragm puts a strain directly on the phrenic center of the diaphragm, on the pericardial ligaments and finally on the vertebrae insertion.
It is no coincidence that almost all of the herniated cervical tract is located at the level of C5 -C6- C7: This is where you unnload the mechanical stress from the underlying viscera.
In addition, the cervical spine, by virtue of its high degree of mobility, easily adapts to the problems of the spine and of the pelvis and may be affected by lesional chains departing even from the foot.
For these reasons, in the case of cervical osteopathic investigation can not be limited only to the cervical spine but must necessarily extend to all systems and devices.
As an example these are two cases that I treated and resolved.
The first case concerns a 40 year old woman with chronic neck pain associated with stiffness of the cervical spine.
Osteopathic examination showed the right zygomatic bone in internal rotation and the fifth lumbar vertebra rotated towards right.
So there was a problem with the skull and one in the lower back: note that this patient did not present neither headache nor low back pain.
The second case is a 35 year old woman with neck pain associated with low back pain.
Osteopathic examination showed the right temporal bone in internal rotation and external rotation in the left maxillary bone, in addition the right kidney was in grade I ptosis associated with, a contracture of the iliopsoas ipsilateral muscle.
In other words, there were problems both at the cranial level and at a kidney that was slightly lowered.
As it can be seen in both cases, there was not an osteopathic cervical lesion.
This is not to deny the usefulness of local therapies or drugs for the purpose of immediate relief, but it is useful to remember that in order to solve the problem in a stable manner it is necessary to go back to its root causes and resolve them.