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Neuroskeletal Re-Alignment Therapy (NSRT) and Neck Pathology

by Carole Preen(more info)

listed in neuroskeletal, originally published in issue 148 - June 2008

Neuroskeletal Re-alignment Therapy (NSRT) can be used for a wide range of back, neck and joint problems, and it has no contra-indications, being a gentle non-manipulative therapy that cannot harm the patient. It works through the Central Nervous System (CNS) and Meridian System to help the body back into balance without the need for any forced manipulation. The fact that it works through the CNS also means that it can help with neurological conditions. You can read published case studies on various conditions on the new page of our website at It does sound too good to be true, but through continuous case studies of my own, and that of my graduates, we see the encouraging results time and time again that put patients back in control of their lives, no longer dogged by pain and immobility.

In this column I am reporting on specific neck problems encountered on a regular basis in my clinic, and the presenting symptoms. Very few reliable epidemiological studies regarding the prevalence of neck pain exist; however, Finnish and Norwegian studies estimated the prevalence of neck pain in the general population to be approximately 34%. Furthermore, the prevalence of chronic neck pain defined as lasting six months or longer, is estimated at approximately 14% (Bovim, 1994; Makela, 1991).

Cervical Spondylosis

This is actually a very common problem of ageing often termed as ‘wear and tear’ or degeneration, and occurs in the majority of people to a major or lesser degree by the time we reach middle age. It is caused by bony spurs that develop as we age, coupled with flattening of the intervertebral discs and disc space narrowing. This is different from osteoarthritis which affects synovial joints.

The symptoms are generally stiffness and pain in the neck that may radiate down the arms if a nerve root is affected, also causing pins and needles, paraesthesia and weakness.

With NSRT, we always do a full postural analysis and check neck movement. With this condition we will see restricted movement in neck rotation and possibly flexion as well. The vertebral artery can also be affected as it travels up through the lateral foramen supplying the brain with blood and oxygen, so there is a possibility of dizziness and even blackouts in severe cases. Patients usually report feeling tired and irritable, I believe as a result of constant pain. Sleep patterns are affected as it is difficult to get comfortable in bed, and moving in the night will cause you to wake with the pain. As with all neck problems, headaches are common, coming up from the back of the neck into the posterior of the head and over into the frontal area.

NSRT treatments do not purport to cure this condition, as we cannot turn back the clock, but it does allow the body to realign the soft tissue, taking pressure off muscles and ligaments and the effect of spasm on muscles may have on the vertebrae. We may also need to offer some deep tissue massage to the area once the pain has died down, to help remove adhesions and lactic acid that may have accumulated in the stiff muscle tissue. Once pain has been reduced and mobility improved, all the other associated symptoms also improve, and as everyone gets a good night’s sleep following a treatment, this helps too. We may then suggest some strengthening exercises and occasional treatments to keep everything stable.

Whiplash Injury

I treat a lot of whiplash injury with NSRT, and on numerous occasions have treated patients following a car accident for their insurance claim. Whiplash injury is most often caused during a rear impact collision where the neck is literally whipped back and forth, but it can also happen as a result of a fall. Displacement can occur as well as muscle tears. Classic signs of whiplash are similar to cervical spondylosis and, in fact, cervical spondylosis is often the result of an old untreated whiplash injury. I say untreated because there is no real treatment in orthodox medicine for whiplash except for a prescription of analgesics and anti-inflammatories, and possibly some physiotherapy. Orthopaedic books confirm that ten percent of people suffering a whiplash will have on-going symptoms lasting indefinitely.

When looking at the posture of someone with a whiplash, we see the head is usually pushed forward and the ear does not line up with the acromion of the shoulder as it should. This is reflected further by a small kyphosis that gradually develops over the years at C7/T1, with muscles becoming hard and stiff in the area. Patients live with constant neck ache. This is totally unnecessary and because NSRT is so gentle, we can treat a patient within hours of the injury. The last whiplash injury I treated for an insurance company was about two months ago. They had agreed to fund 6 treatments, but it only took two before the client regained full mobility and was pain free, with all related symptoms gone.

The classic signs of whiplash are, as well as neck pain, headaches coming up the back of the head as discussed above, waking tired as if not had any sleep, finding it difficult to get the neck comfortable in bed, lack of concentration and memory and, of course, limited rotation and flexion, with discomfort usually worse on one side.

Facet Joint Pain

The facet joints have recently been revealed as a possible source of neck pain, and the diagnosis of cervical facet syndrome is often one of exclusion or not even considered at all. Facet joints are small stabilizing joints located between and behind adjacent vertebrae, which can lock and dislocate. Clinical features that are often, but not always, associated with cervical facet pain include tenderness to palpation over the facet joints or paraspinal muscles, pain with cervical extension or rotation, and absent neurological abnormalities. Studies on cervical facet pain have shown that there is often associated disc problems as well, but this is hardly a surprise when you consider how both the facet joints and the discs work together to move the neck. We actually see cervical facet pain with whiplash injuries, and studies have shown that the prevalence of cervical facet joint pain after whiplash injury was found to be 60%, and the most common levels were C2-C3 and C5-C6.

Further Information

If you would like to try NSRT, please refer to for a list of graduates from the diploma course offered at Morley College, London. You may contact Carole Preen via if you are interested in being case studies for current students.


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About Carole Preen

Carole Preen FCHP FANM HonMIFA is a Fellow of the Association of Natural Medicine and the former Aromatherapy & Allied Practitioners' Association and has been a practitioner since 1994 and an educator since 1997. She is also an honorary lifetime member of the International Federation of Aromatherapists awarded for her contribution to the profession. As well as specializing in Aromatherapy and Anatomy, Carole also introduced Neuroskeletal Re-alignment Therapy to the UK. Carole is an specialist educator, and internal and external moderator working in both the private and FE sector and has level 4 qualifications in quality assurance. She is Director of Complementary Health Professionals and may be contacted on Tel: 0333 577 3340;
For further information about Neuroskeletal Re-alignment Therapy (NSRT) please view the website at with links to published articles and a Facebook page. The diploma course is accredited by Complementary Health Professionals through Natural Therapeutics. Training details and information on booking a treatment with me is available via Mob: 07455 195 515

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