Shoulder and Arm Pain

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National Back Awarness

Shoulder and Arm Pain

Shoulder & Arm Pain

Shoulder and arm pain treatment


Ever wondered where that pain in your arm or shoulder is coming from? With this being National Back Pain awareness week, it’s helpful to know that pain in your arm may actually be coming from your back and osteopathy is here to help!

Is it comming from the Back?

On certain occasions shoulder or arm can be painful even though nothing is wrong with the shoulder or the arm! In these cases it may be possible the neck is the cause of the pain and discomfort. Even more perplexing the patient may say they dont have a neck problem. This is a common phenomena seen by clinicians every day.

Causes of Shoulder/Arm pain from the back

There are ways in which pain can appear in the shoulder or arm, and in these cases the treatment needs to be in the neck.

1. Trapped Nerve

painful areas of the armNerves follow a predefined course from the vertebrae in your neck into and down your arm to your hand. This complex motorway of nerves allows us to move our limbs and feel sensation see image.

Sometimes, one or more of these nerves get trapped where they exit the spine and cause pain / tingling somewhere along its course. This can result in symptoms in the shoulder, upper arm, forearm or fingers. We use the site of pain to our advantage by tracing the nerve back to where it’s pinched in the neck. That’s the reason why people are often asked to identify exactly where the pain is or which fingers are affected. Each of the numbers in the image tell us where to look in the neck.

2. Referred Pain
There are cases of arm and shoulder pain where the nerve itself isn’t trapped but the root of the problem is still stemming from the back. This is a phenomenon called Referred Pain. And similarly, it’s only by fixing the issue in your back can we alleviate your arm symptoms.

3. Posture
We all know good posture is important, maintaining it, however, can be difficult especially with long commutes, desk work and stress. But did you know that bad posture can be another cause of shoulder/arm pain?
Sitting or standing with the back in a slouched position changes the mechanics of your shoulders and they tend to round forwards. Your arms are now in a position that’s likely to put strain on the muscles and joints in your shoulders which can, over time, become very sore!
Osteopaths can gently stretch your back, open up your chest and realign your body back to its neutral position, thus reducing the strain on your arms making day to day life pain free.
We can also provide you with useful advice on how you can improve your posture yourself. Here is a simple exercise you can do to loosen your shoulders to get you started.

Top Tips for Beating Shoulder and Arm Pain

1.  Avoid sleeping on the painful side

2.  Better way of using a cell phone or tablet:

3.  Free Exercise PDF (including videos): click  image

Home exercises for the shoulder

Robert Ballard MOst, DO

Cranial Osteopath
Children Osteopath

Call 0208 946 2331 to see how we we can help you today.

NOTE: all advice and exercises are for guidance only. Every pain is different. These exercises may not agree with every back-pain complaint, so please stop immediately if pain arises. You are adviced to seek professional help before following the advice or exercises.I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Upper Back Pain

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National Back Awarness

Upper Back Pain

It all happens here

Back pain stretch

This is the part of the spine that we use most when we are sitting at our desks, driving our cars, reading, eating. When I say ‘using’ it’s almost a misnomer.

Our upper backs are actually moving very little. It is this lack of movement that can cause us pain in the long term.

We sit at our desk, shoulders forward fingers ready to type on our key boards, heads forward, upper back arched. Sometimes for hours at a time.

Poor posture

Our bodies take this input as a desired position and start to adapt accordingly. The body is always looking for efficiencies. To reduce energy expenditure. So it reduces blood supply to muscles, joints stop moving so nerves receive less innervation.

Muscles at the front of our bodies becoming shorter such as our pectorals.

Our spinal muscles become stretched and longer. And our neck muscles become shorter as they constantly lift our heads up to view the screen.

We do this day in day out for up to 8 hrs a day for months and then years! Then we go home and watch tv or use our laptops at home, or alternatively try and get the stress of our work out the system and go cycling and assume the exact same position.

Muscles working with a reduced blood supply work anaerobically and we get lactic acid build up. Over time these muscles lose their flexibility and become fibrotic (ropey) and can become inflamed. That causes us pain.

Top Tips to stop Upper Back Pain

To stop upper back pain – simple – change the inputs.

Break the static 8 hrs day. Stop every 30-45 mins and make your back and shoulders move. Your body will respond by increasing blood supply. Muscles will change to become more flexible. Joints and nerve innervation inputs will increase.

Here are three simple exercises you can do at work to start changing the inputs.

Pectoral Stretch

T-Spine Samba

T-Spine Side Bending


TIP: Choose exercises which will increase the mobility of your upper back.  Swimming is excellent for this especially front crawl and back stroke. Certain pilates exercises are excellent at generating more mobility in the thoracic spine if done regularly too.

Hugo Firth BOst, BSc, MA

Exercise & Posture Osteopath
Call 0208 946 2331 to see how we we can help you today.

NOTE: all advice and exercises are for guidance only. Every pain is different. These exercises may not agree with every back-pain complaint, so please stop immediately if pain arises. You are adviced to seek professional help before following the advice or exercises.

Head & Neck Pain

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National Back Awarness

Head and Neck Pain

Common Cause of Pain

Neck stretch

The neck is the most mobile part of your spine and it must balance a head weighing around 5kg. It’s astonishing to note when the neck is bent forward by only 30º,  the force at the base of the neck is more than 3½ times it’s actual weight.

This is the equivalent of having a head weighing 18kg. Imagine the force now passing through the lower neck.

This rises to a whopping 27kg with the head fully flexed at 60º.

Forces passing through the neckThis happens because of leverage. The further away from the resting position the greater the force at the fulcrum (ie base of neck in this case). Reference article click here please.

It’s no wonder accumulated hours of texting creates neck and shoulder tension.  It’s also no wonder why hours on a PC cause a similar build-up of tension. Poor posture can also lead to this effect with drooping neck and shoulders.

Once tension builds it may travel up to the head or down to the shoulders, or the upper back; or for some people both places.


There is an important bone inside the skull known as the sphenoid bone. This bone connects to every other skull bone. If muscular tension causes this bone to be displaced, even slightly, it can cause cranial strains leading to headaches, eye pain, sinus pain, ear pain and even jaw pain etc, depending on which bone has been affected by the sphenoid.

Neck Pain

When the muscles of the neck are in spasm, they can affect the blood flow passing through the vertebral artery. These two arteries are important as they travel through the spinal bones (vertebrae) to help supply the brain. A reduction in blood flow can lead to a feeling of tiredness, mussiness, ‘cotton wool in my head’, ‘feels like I am spaced out’ amongst other symptoms.

Top Tips for Beating Headache and Neck Pain

1.  Prevention is better than cure. Please take regular breaks:

  • Set your phone or PC to beep every 30-45 minutes. A simple online timer is here
  • Drink more water, so you will have to go to the rest room more often.
  • If you work in a high-rise building use the stairs to go the rest room on another floor.
  • Get out of your chair to speak to a colleague (rather than email them).
  • Consider using a standing desk, or at least rest raise your monitor and keyboard higher if possible.

2.  Better way of using a cell phone or tablet:

Free Exercise PDF (including videos): click  image

Exercises to help neck pain

senior osteopath

Vispi Jamooji DO, PG Cert Spop

Specialist Paediatric Osteopath
Cranial Osteopath

Call 0208 946 2331 to see how we we can help you today.

NOTE: all advice and exercises are for guidance only. Every pain is different. These exercises may not agree with every back-pain complaint, so please stop immediately if pain arises. You are adviced to seek professional help before following the advice or exercises.

Sciatica & Trapped Nerve

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National Back Awarness

Slipped Disc, Sciatica and Trapped Nerve Explained

Distirbution of the sciatic nerve

The sciatic nerve supplies the whole of the back of the leg and all the foot


The Sciatic nerve is as big as your own index finger. There are a number of ways this nerve can get trapped. A common cause is a slipped disc. This pinches the sciatic nerve as it tries to leave the spine, see below

Image showing how nerve is trapped

click to enlarge

Trapped Nerves

Depending on which nerve is trapped, they are named accordingly. When the sciatic nerve is trapped it is termed sciatica. Symptoms include the buttock, back of the thigh and calf, the outside of the lower leg and the foot.

Single nerve cell

A single nerve cell and it’s connections


Managing a Trapped Nerve

Step 1

  1. Reduce pressure on the nerve. This means avoid sitting and lie down as frequently as possible.
  2. Anti-inflammatory medicines may help. By reducing the inflammation inside the body, it helps to take pressure off the nerve internally. So, by reducing the pressure internally and externally, the damaged tissue gains a window in which to heal.

Step 2

  1. Lie/sleep on your back or the non-hurting side. Do not lie on your tummy or on the side which hurts
  2. Apply an ice pack to the painful area.
  3. Alternate lying with walking. In the early stages more lying than walking. ie after walking lie down before the pain comes. If the pain comes straight away seek professional help – it can be a warning sign.
  4. Avoid sitting and standing. No matter how tempting, these often hinder healing, even if you dont feel it does. Else seek professional help.

Step 3

  1. Reduce your activity for a few days and then begin to slowly work back up to your usual level.
  2. Avoid twisting your back or any heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks after the pain starts.
  3. Avoid ALL forward bending (or as much as possible), this includes sitting.
  4. In 12 weeks you can resume exercising paying special attention to  movements that will strengthen both your abdomen and the flexibility of the spine.
  5. Physical therapy, such as osteopathy is also an option that is recommended.

Try these two execises to help free your pain

Free Exercise PDF (including videos): click  image

Image for low back stretches

Hugo Firth BOst, BSc, MA

Exercise & Posture Osteopath

Call 0208 946 2331 to see how we we can help you today.

NOTE: all advice and exercises are for guidance only. Every pain is different. These exercises may not agree with every back-pain complaint, so please stop immediately if pain arises. You are adviced to seek professional help before following the advice or exercises.

Low Back Pain

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National Back Awarness

Low Back Pain

Back Pain Explained
 – best viewed on desktop PC

Slipped disc, sciatica, nerve pain

Back pain treatment in Wimbledon


Contrary to popular belief back pain is less connected with sitting posture 1 than previously thought. More significant is the correlation with psychological distress2 which doubles the chances of developing low backpain. However back pain straddles mechanical and emotional boundaries which can make its management difficult, if not dealt with promptly.

Latest NICE guidelines3 recognise a combination of advice, exercise, manual therapy and psychological therapy are the most effective in managing low back pain. Since 1986, the Living Centre Clinic has brought all these together in one single treatment programme to help thousands of patients with acute and chronic low back pain.

Overview of Back Pain

Watch this NHS video on understanding back pain. Hghly recommended
(Source: University College London,

Pain at a deeper levelImage showing how nerve is trapped

Pain from the spine arises in 2 ways. i) from the tissue damage itself, which surprisingly causes the milder symptoms; and the body’s response to the damage, which causes the majority of a patient’s symptoms. The picture shows the delicate disc and nerves (the ligaments are not shown). If these are threatened the body produces powerful muscle spasms, along with large amounts inflammatory fluid. This is the reason  why doctors prescribe muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory drugs. It’s great at treating the symptoms, but it does not necessarily address the underlying tissue damage.

Top Tips for Beating Low Back Pain

1.  Acute Back Pain

apply heat or ice pack ?

Hot or Cold? Until proven otherwise, ice is best. Even if your muscles are in spasm, something must be underneath causing that to happen. Spasms are a sign something has strained or torn, so muscle do the only thing they can do – tighten up – to protect the injury. Heat does remove a spasm, but that could make it worse as the body loses it’s protection. Of course to reduce the spasm by a small amount is helpful. However please note that conversely heat increases inflammation (& ice and ibuprofen remove it). Be care careful not to work one against the other.

Keep moving or lie still?

Movement or Stillness? In the very early moments of the attack it makes sense to follow the body’s lead which usually works to ‘freeze’ an area. This means within the first day or two, being still is best. The most common error is to sit still in a chair or on a PC. So avoid all forms of sitting initially, we suggest only sit for your meals and to use the bathroom. Ideally, you could try lying down interspersed with movement, ie walking in your home.

Sleep is healing

Sleep & Sleeping. Healing is most active during your night’s sleep.  So each hour before midnight is worth two hours after midnight. So try a week of early nights, ie by 10pm latest. Avoid sleeping on your stomach or on the side which hurts. Generally its best to sleep on the side which does not hurt, possibly with a pillow between the knees. You may also sleep on your back, possibly with a pillow or two under the knees.

choosing pain relief

Paracetamol vs Ibuprofen. The best medication is ibuprofen (Neurofen). This is an anti-inflammatory medicine and will help dry the damage area fast. This is important because your body cant lay down healing fibres if the area is still wet – the fibres wont bond. Ice (cold packs) and ibuprofen work together in the same way. You can try natural alternatives such as Turmeric and Devil’s Claw remedies as well. Paracetamol however is a painkiller and will only mask the symptoms.

2.  On Going Back Pain

  • Neutral spine postition: lie on the floor with your knees bent or supported on a chair at 90° with a pillow under your head
  • Continue with your normal activities BUT take your time and DON’T push yourself
  • Before getting up bring your knees to your chest one at a time
  • Bend your knees when bending over or picking up objects off the floor
  • When carrying objects keep it close to your body
  • Avoid sitting for long periods – keep getting up

Tips to get you out of your chair

  • Set your phone or PC to beep every 30-45 minutes.
  • Drink more water, so you will have to go to get up more often to move about.
  • If you work in a high-rise building use the stairs to go the rest room on another floor.
  • Get out of your chair to speak to a colleague (rather than email them).
  • Consider using a standing desk, or at least rest raise your monitor and keyboard higher if possible.


Home Massage Tips

Knowing where to massage and how much to do it for is key. Generally resist the temptation to massage the injured tissue. Medical evidence4 shows that areas which are painful are not actually “stiff”, “jammed” or “locked”, despite the feeling that it is. It is typically more effective to massage the same area on ‘other’ side of the spine; and/or the area above or below the injury. This is because these tissues will be compensating and would benefit from a little rest. This in turn will help them support the injury, so aiding nature cure.

Note: please be aware in acute cases of pain, no matter how tempting to rub an injured tissue, rubbing may make it worse. It may create more tissue damage, increase inflammation, or result in more muscle spasm. We always recommend massaging away from the site of injury.

How to get out of bed / Pick up something from the floor (click video below)

Free Exercise PDF (including videos): click  image

Back pain exercise plan

Jennifer Beck bio photo

Jennifer Beck M.OST

Female Wellness

Call 0208 946 2331 to see how we we can help you today.

NOTE: all advice and exercises are for guidance only. Every pain is different. These exercises may not agree with every back-pain complaint, so please stop immediately if pain arises. You are adviced to seek professional help before following the advice or exercises.


  1. Korshoj, M., Hallman, D., Mathiassen, S. E. & Asdahl, M. Is objectively measured sitting at work associated with low back pain? A cross sectional study in the DPhacto cohort. Is objectively measured sitting at work associated with low back pain? A cross sectional study in the DPhacto cohort (2017). Available at: (Accessed: 25th September 2017)
  2. Power, C., Frank, J., Hertzman, C., Schierhout, G. & Li, L. Predictors of low back pain onset in a prospective British study. Am. J. Public Health 91, 1671–1678 (2001).
  3. NICE Guidline, Low back pain and sciatica in over 16s: assessment and management.   ISBN: 978-1-4731-2186-7. (2016).
  4. Stanton, T. R., Moseley, G. L., Wong, A. Y. L. & Kawchuk, G. N. Feeling stiffness in the back: a protective perceptual inference in chronic back pain. Sci. Rep. 7, (2017).

Commuter Pain

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Commuter Pain?

Packed trains cause neck pain abnd back pain

Commuting in London can take anything from 10 mins to up to 2 hours making it a stressful affair, not least of all on top of train delays.

Twisted Postures

With growing numbers of commuters and train services not being able to keep up, many having to stand or sit on the floor of the carriages.  Therefore, if you are not one of the lucky ones and you end up standing awkwardly or sitting down in the carriage way, you may notice this is starting to take an effect on your body.

An awkward posture can result in a mixture of spinal and joint pain. Consequently, carrying heavy bags that aren’t supporting you correctly can result in ‘bad’ posture. This lifestyle of commuting daily is inevitable, so the real solution is how can you make the situation better and reduce the pain it might be causing you.

Reduce Your Pain

Having the ‘correct posture’ is a common topic among most. It is the subject that many people will relate the cause of pain to. However, having a ‘bad’ posture is subjective to every individual, one type of posture may not work for another. Therefore, I don’t believe in a single ‘correct posture’. It is about adapting your posture to fit YOU best, allowing changes where needed in order to improve the way your body moves.

Once the commute is over it is important to get moving again. Do some stretching once you’ve reached your destination. Here are some movements that could benefit you

  1. Side bending your neck both sides (Holding for 10-15 seconds) to increase the stretch you can place your hand underneath the opposite leg to which you are side-bending your neck away.
  2. Place your arm above your shoulders and lean your side into a wall, you can allow the leg closest to the wall to bend allowing a stretch
  3. Roll your shoulders clockwise and anti-clockwise.
  4. Pinch your shoulder blades together, holding for 5-10 seconds then releasing.
  5. Placing your chin to your chest, roll down to touch your toes. (TOP TIP: make sure you concentrate on moving each segment of the spine)
  6. Chin tucks – placing your finger on your chin, move your head backwards (this may create a double chin!)

Remember: Take your time with all of these exercises, don’t rush them!

– complete with video demonstration of exercises

Exercises to do after a commute

Each exercise is upported witha video demonstration.

For further information on these exercises, head over to this page where photo demonstrations are available.

Top tips for commuting

  • Switch around your bag – if you are resisting a backpack then change shoulder you carry your bag on
  • If possible use a style wheelie-trolley (like an airline case) rather than a bag you have to carry.
  • Take a moment to readjust your posture
  • Try and avoid long spells on your cell phone to break up the posture
  • Transfer your weight from side to side
  • Try looking over your shoulder from time to time.
  • Go on tip-toes or rock on your feet if possible to help the blood back to the heart


Jennifer Beck bio photoJennifer Beck M.OST

Back Pain Explained

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Back Pain Explained

What happens in back pain

Anatomy of the back

What Causes Low Back Pain?

The commonest cause of low back pain is simple tissue failure. The outside layers protecting the spinal nerve are firstly the muscle, beneath that is  ligament then the joint and finally the disc and nerve. When we put too much force through our spine these defences can fail one by one until eventually the force finally passes through to the discs and nerves, causing slipped disc, sciatica, trapped nerves etc.

Our backs are supplied by two sets of nerves “fast” and “slow”.  The human spine has relatively few slow nerves, compared to fast nerves. This means if we suddenly twist our spine it may hurt immediately; but if we sit slouched over a PC, we would barely notice it until we stand up when our fast nerves would be activated.  So, bad posture combined with lack of activity is the antecedence to low back pain. That means sitting long hours a day, with little exercise is bad news.

What Are The Symptoms of Low Back Pain?

The low back spine is in intimate contact with the nerves that travel to the legs, groin and bowel. For this reasons symptoms can be quite diverse. Classic low back pain may therefore include in addition to back pain: pins and needles, numbness, loss of strength in the leg, hot or cold sensations, leg pain (sciatica), calf pain, foot pain, groin pain, tummy pain, and bowel disturbances – constipation or diarrhoea.

Treatment of Low Back Pain  at the Living Centre Clinic 

Over 90% of mechanical back pain has the following format. The injured part of the spine will typically be over-worked and inflamed. Reciprocally the neighbouring area will show as an under-worked, ie stiff and “lazy”. Treatment is firstly to calm and release the injured area and then, to help prevent the problem happening again, the lazy areas are made mobile again so they can share in the future work load.

Our success at treating sciatica is due to the unique combination of treatments we use to decompress the spine. We are one of the few clinics that have an advanced treatment bed, which is a more effective treatment than manual medicine alone, the bed gently frees back pain by using a soothing rocking motion. We combine this with the application of clinical massage and traction at specific points along the spine to reduce pressure on the spine or trapped nerve.

Our treatments are endorsed by GPs and consultants including orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons and neurologist specialists. We offer insurance approved pain consultants who are registered with leading health insurance providers.The Living Centre Clinic enjoys a good reputation with the medical profession. We can make requests, privately or through your GP, for MRI scans, x-rays blood test etc as needed.

We believe in involving the patient in their recovery. We know if a patient understands what to do and when, they can help speed up recovery and avoid future problems. Advice, tips and exercises always feature in our management. Following recovery, rehabilitative therapy is available with our experienced Pilates instructor, offering continued therapeutic support.

Don’t Suffer Anymore

Don’t suffer anymore. Call us today we can help many types of back pain conditions, even if you have suffered for years, 02089462331 or fill in our online form (option2) here. We can give a perosnal answer to your question.

You may also find the following articles helpful : Back Pain  Sipped disc/Sciatica  Neck Pain  Headache/Migraine  Shoulder Pain  Trapped Nerve

Competitive Treatment Fees

How To Fix Your Own Back Pain

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10 Top Tips to Beat Back Pain

Slipped disc, sciatica, nerve pain

Back pain treatment in Wimbledon

1                     Sitting is the number one enemy of bad backs.  “Too much sitting; too much standing; not enough walking and not enough lying”. This is the magic formula we tell our patients. Follow this golden rule and your back will smile at you. This is our Top Tip!

2                     If your pain has struck suddenly “for no known reason” –  try and work out what was different in the last month or so. Our golden tip is to look for anything different you might have done, something out of your normal routine – even a holiday! Or to see if you have been working longer hours than normal – fatigue physical (& emotional) are know trouble makers. Understanding your pain will help you cope and fight it.

3                     Avoid sleeping on the side that hurts and generally avoid sleeping on the stomach or half twisted with the arms thrown over your head. These all weaken your spine in different ways.

4                     Using a cold pack invariably works out better than a hot water bottle. This is because ice is a natural anti-inflammatory and works much in the same way as ibuprofen or Neurofen (obviously with any of the side effects!). By contrast heat does the opposite.  That said, heat generally helps to relieve the pain of muscle spams. So sometimes we recommend both in alternation.

5                     Exercises can be helpful, but please check with your healthcare professional before trying any, as each back pain if different. One of the best all around exercises is simple walking, but it must not be “Saturday morning shopping speed”. Slow, stop/start walking will often aggravate pain. If it hurts to walk, or pain arises shortly after a walk. Stop and don’t do that again. Seek professional help. Walk on grass and use proper walking shoes.

6                     When you have to carry something keep it as close to the chest as possible and pick it up with bent knees. Certainly avoid lifting after a long period of sitting, ie taking suitcases out of a boot after a long car journey, after a flight, the weekly grocery shop, etc

7                   Take regular exercise. 30 minutes each day is ideal. Exercises that increase your heart are best (check with your doctor first). However exercises that stretch you (ie yoga) or those which improve your core strength (ie Pilates) are also great. We recommend you do both types if possible.

Smiles after the pain goes

Effective treatments for pain relief in the heart of SW19 & SW20

8                     Try to avoid “comfy” chairs and settees, specially if you think you are developing bad back. As anyone who has ever had a bad back will tell you, they always suffer more pain in these types of chairs, as it is known to weaken the spine.

9                     Keep an eye on your posture. Slumping or slouching will weaken the spine. Stand tall as if the top of your head has a string attached to it and you are being suspended from this string. Imagine the posture that would be created by this action. That’s what you have to aim for.

10                 My best tip ever … Go to bed early!  I mean that. Try a week of early nights (its miles better than waking up an hour later). With over 30 years of experience this is the cheapest and best remedy I have witnessed as a professional osteopath. Sleep. My patients know it as “Vitamin S” (for sleep). Once you see the amazing effects, you will always want to do this again and again.


As on Osteopath Vispi Jamooji is a specialist in back pain relief with over 30 years experience. He heads the osteopathy team at the Living Centre Clinic. Please send in your questions (option 2) and he will do his best to help. The advice will be free.


Is Your Jaw Pain a Pain in the Neck?

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Jaw Pain & Neck Pain

Jaw and neck pain TreatmentIf you are suffering from neck pain and it keeps coming back, it may be worth checking your jaw, even if you don’t feel you have jaw pain. This is because not all jaw problems produce pain in the jaw. For some people the first sign can be recurring neck pain. This is particularly important if you have ever had any orthodontic work or suffer from face pain, sinus pain, or (non painful) jaw issues. This includes a clicking joint, uneven bite, or pain on yawning or eating hard foods.


For some it’s hard to consider that a jaw pain can masquerade as a neck pain. A study as long ago as 20041 demonstrated that sensitisation of the jaw, even when at rest, can generate increased muscle activity in the head and neck.  In 2016 a pilot study confirmed a hard link between the jaw and neck pain in computer office workers2.  In 2017 it was shown that people with chronic neck and shoulder pain develop higher levels of jaw tension3. In the same year in another study  showed that asymmetric jaw alignment or tongue alignment can lead to significant loss of neck movement4.

Each of the research papers underlie the relationship between the neck and jaw, and in particular that one influences the other, and vice versa.

 Jaw Pain Explained

Jaw pain explainedTreating the jaw requires the skill of an experienced clinician.  The jaw is much more complicated than meets the eye. Like the knee the jaw has a cartilage inside it. You can think of the cartilage as similar to a runner in a chest of drawers. As the jaw opens it glides along the cartilage runner to make a smooth mouth opening. However, it is not a hinge joint and this is why issues can arise. Initially the jaw glides forward along the runner, only after this will the jaw-hinge drop open. If the runner is damaged, it blocks the gliding action. This will block the opening/closing of the jaw. Classically the patient may find it difficult to fully open or close the mouth, or may encounter pain on chewing. Note, if the cartilage is only partially damaged, the jaw can be heard clicking because the jaw glides forward and bumps up and over the damaged (swollen) part of the cartilage.

The Painful Jaw

When the cartilage becomes damaged it is not usually not very painful to begin with. However it can get worse causing pain not only in the joint, but elsewhere too. Simply put the muscles which operate the jaw are connected to the skull and the neck. This includes a connection to the temples, throat and ear, which is why patients can sometimes feel they have a headache, difficulty swallowing or ear pain which accompanies the jaw problem.

There are also nerve connections which can cause pain. In particular there is a phenomenon known as referred pain. Referred pain is poorly understood, but doctors know that pain in one area of the body can appear “magically” in another area, even though the second area has nothing to do with the problem. In such cases a jaw problem can create pain in the face, sinus or teeth, as well as the neck and head. Referred pain can arise in other areas too, so an intimate knowledge of this condition is required to correctly diagnose what is going on and how best to treat it.

Causes of Jaw Damage

Like all joints in the body, the jaw joint can become unstable at it’s fullest range of motion ie it is potentially susceptible to damage on full opening. This includes maximum opening on yawning for example. Adding pressure at the same time, like biting a hard apple, creates deeper pressure in the jaw.  Over time the cartilage weakens and eventually fails, causing pain and in ability to fully open or close the mouth, as previously mentioned.

Self help treatment

how to treat jaw pain

Cool Pack
In acute pain, ie pain which has arisen suddenly applying something cold will normally help soothe the area. Apply a cool gel pack, covered in a cloth is necessary for about 10 – 15 mins.  Cold is usually preferable as acute pain is typically accompanied by inflammation. Small gel cool packs are sold at the clinic for a nominal price.

Sometimes the inflammation is beyond the scope of a gel pack. Provided you are allowed to take NSAIDS (ie Neurofen, ibuprofen naproxyn etc), taking a regular dose can help with the initial pain.

Self Massage
Whilst it is difficult to massage oneself generally, you may get some relief by gently massaging your temple, the bone behind the ear, back of the head, under the skull and the neck. Sometimes moving your arms can help relieve some of the tension.

Avoid eating/chewing on the painful side. This is the side where the damage is likely (but not always) going to be. Avoid chewy foods too, and try taking small bites. Beware: there are situations when the jammed side causes almost no pian, and the pain arises from the opposite side.  So if your symptoms don’t improve always seek professional advice. It may be a complex case.

As the jaw is weakest in full opening of the mouth, it makes sense to avoid extreme opening, such as deep yawns, big bites of fruit (ie apple), heating hard food items such as carrots.

Avoid sleeping on the side which hurts and avoid sleeping on the stomach. Both these increase the chance of pushing the jaw into further difficulty.

Teeth Grinding
If you feel you grind your teeth, specially at night you may be at higher risk of putting your jaw out. Consult your dentist for a review with a possible view to wearing a mouth guard at night.


Professional Help

senior osteopath

Finding someone to treat the jaw can be a difficult ask because it straddles two professions, dentistry and mechanical medicine (ie osteopathy, chiropractic or physiotherapy). Further much of the work on the jaw is taught at postgraduate level, so its always work checking if your practitioner has undergone this extra training.

Mr Jamooji has extensive experience in jaw problems as he personally experienced this just prior to the extraction of his wisdom teeth in his mid-20s, not once but twice. Together with additional post graduate training he offers a sensitive and reliable treatment programme for all ages.

Visit our neck pain page for general information on how we treat neck problems. Alternatively fill in this online-form to see how we can help you today. To make a booking please go to our main osteopathy page or call 02089462331 and speak with our trained reception staff.


1 Associations between pain and neuromuscular activity in the human jaw and neck muscles. Peter Svenssona, Kelun Wanga, Barry J. Sessled, Lars Arendt-Nielsena. Pain. 2004 Jun;109(3):225-32. DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2003.12.031

2 Associations among temporomandibular disorders, chronic neck pain and neck pain disability in computer office workers: a pilot study. Bragatto MM, Bevilaqua-Grossi D, Regalo SC, Sousa JD, Chaves TC.   J Oral Rehabil. 2016 May;43(5):321-32. doi: 10.1111/joor.12377. Epub 2016 Jan 6.

3   High-density EMG Reveals Novel Evidence of Altered Masseter Muscle Activity During Symmetrical and Asymmetrical Bilateral Jaw Clenching Tasks in People With Chronic Nonspecific Neck Pain. Authors: Testa, Marco1; Geri, Tommaso; Gizzi, Leonardo; Falla, Deborah. Source: The Clinical Journal of Pain, Volume 33, Number 2, February 2017, pp. 148-159(12). Publisher: Wolters Kluwer. DOI:

4 Does altered mandibular position and dental occlusion influence upper cervical movement: A cross–sectional study in asymptomatic people. Francis Grondin, Toby Hall, Harry von Piekartz. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice Volume 27, February 2017, Pages 85-90. DOI:

What Makes A Great Massage

By | Massage, Pain Relief, Sports | No Comments

A Great Massage in Wimbledon

Great massae in Wimbledon

Fancy a great massage in Wimbledon? Do you know there is more to a great massage than meets the eye. The Living Centre Clinic massage therapy in Wimbledon offers a higher level massage effectiveness. Here’s why we say why…



Our therapists are not only experienced, but have additional qualifications in different massage areas and therapeutic skills. We believe this increases their level of awareness and so their effectiveness in delivering a great massage.  We believe that’s what makes our approach so much more comprehensive than many of our competitors.


For a massage to be truly great there needs to be dialogue between your body’s muscles and the therapist. A skilled massage therapist is trained to detect where areas are painful or inflamed by touch – as these are common causes of pain and generate tension. A great massage is more than applying a massage stroke, it’s the direction of the pressure, how light or deep to go, the position the client is lying in, and crucially how long to work the tissue. Have you ever had a massage and felt the therapist was applying ‘a series of moves’ without really delivering what you need? Not so with our massage therapists. Guaranteed. If you are not delighted with your massage contact the clinic manager and we will put things right for you (Mr Jamooji,

Neil Woodrow

Neil Woodrow is a fully qualified (internationally recognised) massage practitioner. He is also a fully qualified and experienced Chinese Acupuncturist and a fully qualified and experienced reflexologist with a special interest in pregnancy care, including pregnancy massage, pregnancy reflexology.

With a personal interest in health & exercise and as well as the gift of his own natural physique Neil Woodrow delivers a powerful sports massages, which he can supplement with acupuncture (at no extra cost) if you wish. His treatment style is kind and sympathetic. An example of Neil Woodrow’s humanity is that he teaches Traditional Chinese Exercises, at several locations in southwest London, free of charge as a local service to the community. We are sure you will want to be treated by him again and again.

Magda Oliveira

Magda Oliveira specialises in female massage therapy. As a highly trained massage therapist she holds individual qualifications in a number of key massage therapies, at international level. These include, massage therapy, aromatherapy, reflexology and she is a qualified meditation practitioner. Between these healing therapies she offers 10 different massage styles from full body massage Indian Ayurvedic Massage and lymphatic drainage massage, plus many more.

As Magda Oliveira has a special interest in female health she also offers advice and support for many woman’s problems or issues. This includes help with fertility issues and pregnancy massage .  As part of a great massage, sometimes silence is required and sometimes, time to talk things through. As a mature and kind practitioner Magda Oliveira offers this awareness which can help make your treatment what you need it to be.

Back pain treatment room

Living Centre Clinic, Wimbledon

The Living Centre Clinic attracts clients not just from Wimbledon, Raynes Park and Morden, but further away too. We offer consistent and reliable massages, which is delivered by exceptionally well qualified and caring therapists. Treatments are available 6 days a week, including evening appointments. Our fees are more than reasonable, when you consider no extra charge is made for the additional therapies included in each and every massage as standard.

More than a massage the Living Centre Clinic, as a clinic, offers massages with a therapeutic angle. This means for a number of minor aches and pains, (ie where you would not normally book an osteopath or physiotherapist) massage can be used to simply and effectively to help you through. This makes our treatment great value for money and offers the security of an in-house referral for osteopathy, acupuncture or Sports Injury Treatment if needed.

You may discuss your needs with our very friendly reception staff (12 hours a day), or have a chat with either Neil Woodrow or Magda Oliveira to see what’s best for you 02089462331 or  The clinic also has an online form (option “2 –  Ask My Medical Question”) if you prefer.

We wish you a great massage – hopefully the best one you have ever had!

Book a massage today

Living Centre Clinic