by Helen Mawson
In this article, I would like to share with you some information concerning neck problems such as injuries, trauma, pain or other issues, and how I work in practice to help rebalance these.
A brief anatomy of the neck musculoskeletal structure
The skeleton of the neck is made up of 7 cervical vertebrae 1c – 7c. I will also mention the TMJ or temporomandibular joint as it has great importance in maintaining the correct balance of the neck. Problems can occur along the vertebral column in different ways such as disk problems or degeneration. Trauma due to injury is a common problem often found in the neck and this can sometimes give rise to symptoms years after the initial trauma occurred. Some of the muscles of the neck include the trapezius, upper trapezius, semispinalis capitis, erector spinae, scalenes, and the sternocleidomastoid or SCM for short!
The Bowen Technique for Neck problems
I have found that Bowen is extremely effective for treating neck problems, whether these are new or old injuries resulting from trauma or other problems. There are several reasons why I feel this therapy has such a great impact upon neck problems, as follows;
Less is more
Bowen involves very gentle touch which often elicits significant benefit in the body. Many studies have confirmed that this light touch has a significant impact and often making a treatment more effective.
The Bowen moves are often made over muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, joints and occasionally nerves. Treatment aims to stimulate the nervous system and body to begin a process of healing, repair and rejuvenation.
Treatment works on many levels
The Bowen moves – are made at key structural points on the body which the brain uses as natural reference points to determine the body’s posture. As a result, the moves can have a huge effect on the way the body holds itself. The Bowen moves on the neck are made over the scalenes, semispinalis capitis, upper trapezius and erector spinae muscles and over the occipital protuberance.
The nervous system – sensory information is induced by the Bowen move which reaches the spinal cord passing through the nerve pathways to the different centres of the brain. At this point the information is shunted back and forth via a complex self-corrective feedback mechanism, this info is then sent back down the spinal cord to the individual muscles for correction to take place. The basic Bowen neck moves will often have a profound impact on the balance of the overall body and will elicit a powerful sense of well-being.
Fascia and its importance
Fascia is connective tissue that covers all of the structures of the body and allows flexibility and free flowing movement throughout the whole body. The body maintains structure through its relationship with key structural bands of muscle via fascia. One key function of fascia bands is to maintain upright structure. If there is tension or weakness in the fascia a range of reactions can result such as pressure on nerves, tension in the musculature on one side and compensation patterns being set up in the rest of the body. In Bowen, we directly affect fascia by changing the way in which the muscles and fascia relate to each other and a change in structure becomes inevitable whereby the structure of the body will adopt a better position and the body will be better able to function. To highlight how important and how effective treating fascia is I give an example that the fascial system contains 10x more receptors than muscles, these receptors send messages directly to the brain.
A significant result achieved for one of my clients
Neck problems even those that are long standing seem to respond really well to Bowen. I have included a comment from one of my clients below which I feel highlights the power of this technique. I would also like to add that I have recently worked with a client who had suffered from severe and constant neck pain for just under a year. He had visited various consultants and undergone several tests and scans all to no avail. After just one session of Bowen with me, his severe and constant pain was significantly reduced. In fact, he reported that the pain wasn’t a permanent fixture any longer and that it only occurred when he did certain things and even then, it wasn’t as severe. Subsequent sessions have helped reduce the residual ache that my client has been left with and have helped to considerably improve his range of movement. I am still working with this client but I am confident that his pain will eventually subside completely and the structures in his neck will balance and normalise.
I was experiencing intense pain and was unable to move my head or neck. Any movement was unbearable so I phoned Helen to ask for help. Within an hour after the first treatment, the pain began to subside. I still had very little movement but was I able to get some much-needed sleep that night. After the second treatment, the pain reduced dramatically and the movement in my neck improved considerably also. After the third treatment, the pain was completely gone and I was able to turn and move my head without any restriction. The effect of Bowen for me I feel was nothing short of miraculous! It is a truly wonderful modality and I recommend it without hesitation to anyone experiencing pain! Tracey O’, Moccas