Osteopaths for Neck pain Cheadle Hulme

Osteopaths for Neck pain Cheadle Hulme | Neck Pain- Facet Lock

By Cheadle Hulme Osteopath Alan Johnson

What Is Facet lock?

Facet lock is a type of neck pain associated with a mechanical locking of specific joints in the neck accompanied by local muscle spasm, and some of the terms related to this neck pain are Torticollis, meniscus entrapment or facet lock.

People report an ‘acute locked neck’ which is characterized by the sudden onset of neck pain on attempting to extend there neck or back from a bent or flexed position. Also complained of is the inability to perform an upright stance or look up to the ceiling due to the restriction of movement in the neck and  resultant muscle spasm.

The onset is usually acute and can bring on increased focal pain in the Neck, and which the patient having bent forward is unable to straighten because of the pain. The symptomatic region of the neck pain is the facet joints where the pain is located.

Most common causes of this particular type of neck pain are:

  • Sleeping awkwardly
  • Possible change in mattress or pillows
  • Chronic neck tension which could be the result of an acute episode of spasm
  • Spondylosis within the neck,
  • Postural strain
  • Tension secondary to stress and anxiety.


Situated over each and every facet joint of the spine is a synovial capsule which acts like a sleeve over the joint. The inside of the capsule known as the synovium is lined with a membrane that secretes fluid within the joint, and this limits the amount of friction caused between the articular surfaces of the cartilage. Also contained within the joint spaces are small wedges of adipose (fatty) tissue or what some refer to as meniscoid, which also serve to protect the joint cavity, lubricating the joint surfaces, in addition enhancing joint stability and assisting the natural movements of the facet joints.


The proposed mechanism behind the neck pain and locking of the facet joints in this condition is due to the entrapment of the folds of the capsule or the small fatty tissue (meniscoid) as they attempt to move back into position within the joint, furthermore this give the sudden twinge felt in the neck upon the movement with the associated muscle spasm that follows.


Osteopathic treatment of this type of neck pain could consist of soft tissue massage techniques or muscle energy techniques to reduce the local muscle spasm before performing joint manipulation to free the joint of the restriction. The use of heat and ice could also be used to compliment the treatment if any residual post-treatment soreness on the neck persists. Also advice on stretching and posture would be given to prolong the treatment effect aiding towards a speedier recovery. Treatment however is  not the same for every patient and will be tailored on the individual, health, pain levels, medical history onset of pain.  

Additional information

  • NHS UK
  • N.I.C.E (National Institute for Clinical Excellence)
  • Medline Plus
  • Web MD
  • GOsC (General Osteopathic Council)


If you are experiencing neck pain,  feel free to call me at:

Hazel Grove Osteopathic Surgery on 0161 483 6986 for appointments on Wednesday Friday and Saturday. 302 London road, Hazel Grove, SK7 4RF.

Moreton Osteopaths on 0151 6788833 for appointments on Monday. 29 Upton road, Moreton, Wirral, Cheshire CH46 0PE

Warrington Osteopaths on 01925 573300 for appointments on Tuesday and Thursday. 7 bold street, Warrington, Cheshire, WA1 1DN

Alternately i offer a home visit service if more appropriate, covering the areas of Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, Handforth, Heald green, Wilmslow, and Didsbury. call 07858 602277 or email info@alanjohnsonosteopathy.co.uk.

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