Massage Therapy for Neck Pain
Massage therapy can help with neck pain
Massage therapy is a safe and effective method to treat neck pain. Often it is all that’s needed to get lasting relief. It can also be a useful addition to physical therapy treatments. If your pain is so severe that you are considering neck surgery please give massage a try first — it just might do the trick. And if you have already gotten surgery massage can help speed up your recovery.
What is a neck pain?
Most everyone has at some time had a sore neck. Perhaps you overdid it doing that yard work, or being a weekend warrior playing sports, but now you have a stiffness or pain in your neck. For many people, however, that soreness intensifies over time into intense neck pain. It could be pain in the back of the neck, or on one side or both sides, or pain along the base of the skull. It might hurt when you turn you head, move your head to the side, or it might hurt just sitting and doing nothing. Chronic neck pain can indeed be very severe, even disabling. To make matters worse it’s often accompanied by headaches.
What causes it?
Many factors may be involved in neck pain. Sometimes it stems directly from trauma or abrupt injury to tissues from a car accident, sports injury, or work injury. Often it slowly creeps up over time due to repetitive stress to the tissues. Doing the same motion over and over again at work, incorrect form while working out, even repeated stretching of the neck using a laptop can cause neck pain. Poor posture and poor ergonomics are usually factors as well. Over time trigger points can form in the tissues, creating yet another source of pain.
Sometimes the pain itself comes directly from injured tissues. Often the pain is the result of a nerve being compressed by a tight muscle or a distortion of a vertebra. Left untreated it often gets worse.
How massage therapy can help?
A thorough assessment is needed first in order to determine which strategy to use.
Simply relaxing muscles can sometimes help restore correct muscle tone. If tissues are injured lymphatic massage can aid recovery, especially if edema is present, while massaging surrounding tissues can help reduce tension at the injury site.
Releasing the tension in a tight muscle which is compressing a nerve can relieve pain. This might involve using cross fiber friction techniques, deep tissue, longitudinal stokes, PNF stretches, or neuromuscular therapy if trigger points are involved. All of these