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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Should I consult a chiropractor or physiotherapist for my problem?

    At C5-6 I have a disc which is narrowed and some osteoarthritis, also slight bulge at the C6-7. I get a burning through the right shoulder blade area which travels down through my right arm into my hand. It's recently flared up again and is causing a lot of pain. Who is the best person to see for this please?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    Josephine Perry

    Bowen Therapist

    Josephine is a fully qualified Bowen Therapist, with full insurance cover and Association membership. Rebates provided by most health funds, according to levels of cover.Practice … View Profile

    A Bowen Therapist will be able to assess your symptoms and provide gentle relaxation moves which will stimulate the body's response to musculo-skeletal pain.  The clien't's response to these moves causes constricted muscles to relax, providing relief from pain.

  • 1


    Sunil Mulay

    Massage Therapist

    Sunil is a professional remedial massage therapist with a deep interest in the functioning of the human body’s structural systems, and the conditions that are … View Profile

    The burning pain down your arm suggests that you have a nerve impingement somewhere. Most likely sites, from what you have said, are likely to be in your cervical spine C5/6 area, but also possibly in the front of your shoulder near the armpit, in an area called the Thoracic Outlet. There are simple orthopaedic tests which can be carried out to check where the impingement likely is.

    The treatment will then vary depending on the outcome of the above tests. It is likely that you will need some exercise training to strengthen the muscles in the front of your neck (deep muscles) and stretch the ones in the back. This will allow your neck to align better, and exert less pressure on the compromised disc.

    You will probably need a few remedial massage sessions to alleviate any excessive tightness in your posterior neck muscles, which may be compressing the disc further.

    A good physio, osteopath, or a good remedial massage therapist who has expertise in rehabilitation, would probably be your best call.

    You need someone who will not only give you good hands-on treatment, but will give you specific exercise training to keep your neck in its optimum alignment.

    All the best.

  • 1


    Sandra McFaul


    Do you suffer from chronic lower back pain or neck pain? Based in SYDNEY, Sandra is 1 of ONLY 15 Physiotherapists in Australia with ADVANCED … View Profile

    The best person to see is a physio trained in the McKenzie Method. 

    Why?  They will show you 1 or 2 key exericses to relieve the pain.  And importantly, they will show you how to stop the pain from coming back. 

    GOOGLE McKenzie Method to find out more.

  • Dr Daryl Ansell


    According to the history it is likely to be disc related with some overlying muscle imbalance, but still premature to make that assumption.

    It is therefore best to approach this with a full spinal examination to discover the underlying cause which may differ than discogenic in nature.

    I'm assuming this diagnosis was made from radiographic findings and interpreted by a professional, although radiograhic findings don't always coorelate to the clinical findings.

    If there is degenerative changes taking place in the lower cervical spine it is important to address these issues as they will likely reoccur in a more aggravated state.

    To address this issue it is important to understand the mechanism of degeneration. firstly there is very limited blood supply to the disc's in the spine, which is the body's supply train of nutrients and oxygen allowing for better healing; the more blood supply the better the healing response.

    initially there is an acute injury to the disc which leads to segmental instability, in your case C5/6 which causes the vertebra to go through a growth phase (arthritic growth) to stabilize the segments affected. This stabilization leads to reduced movement of that segment and causes a cascade of degeneration above and below that joint over time, this is a vicious  cycle and needs to be addressed at the cause, which is lack of movement at C5/6 and where a chiropractor will introduce spinal manipulative therapy.

    more can be learnt at

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