Neck pain is a common complaint among adults. It can be caused by stress, poor posture, or injury, often accompanied by headaches, shoulder aches, arm numbness, and tingling. Massage therapy can help to relax muscles in the neck, relieve pain, and increase the range of motion for your neck.
A good massage therapist should be able to identify the source of your problem with questions about what you’re experiencing as well as touch tests before designing a treatment plan for you.
What is neck pain, and what causes it?
Neck pain is the result of many different causes. The type of neck pain someone has can be determined by analyzing what they do and how often they experience it. Some common symptoms that may signal an underlying condition include:
- stiffness in your head/neck area,
- difficulty turning your head side-to-side, sensitivity around the back of your skull, and
- numbness on one side of your face, arm, leg, and buttocks area.
Neck pain usually originates from:
- not sitting up straight or reclining for long periods at a time (this puts pressure on discs located between spinal vertebrae),
- muscle strain caused by movement, including repetitive motions like typing or reaching forward to get something off the ground,
- playing sports when twisting improperly, and
- suddenly stopping from strenuous activity.
Dr. O’Dell can address neck pain by incorporating a massage therapy session into your routine. By asking questions, Dr. O’Dell can determine what techniques would work best for them based on their needs and goals. There are several benefits of receiving massage, including reduced stress levels, reduced fatigue, better sleep quality, decreased muscle tension or spasms, and improved range of motion.
At the same time, there are minimal risks associated with it, and it has a high efficacy rate (meaning that you’re more likely to see relief from symptoms after one treatment). Massage also improves circulation, which aids in delivering oxygenated blood throughout your body – this helps heal muscles quicker, so patients often need less pain medication too.
How can massage techniques address neck pain?
Everyone knows the feeling of soreness in their muscles after a long day, but this is just one sign that massage therapy could benefit you. The benefits from regular massages are many, including increased circulation and flexibility and relief from various ailments like pain or fluid retention.
Through effleurage, massage therapy stimulates blood flow to muscles. By increasing oxygen and nutrients that help eliminate waste products such as lactic acid from spasms causing pain in the muscle tissue, this technique can positively affect treatment for many conditions, including fibromyalgia (chronic aches), arthritis of knees, or back discomfort.
After trauma, muscles act as mini-splints to protect and limit motion, similar to a cast on a broken arm.
A typical example is when someone does prolonged-time activities with very minimal breaks and does not perform stretches frequently. The result is a stiff and sore neck with possible pain or numbness where it hurts most which can be remedied by simply rubbing (mini-massage) and stretching your neck periodically throughout the day.
At the same time, massage therapy is a safe treatment to receive and has an excellent success rate. At O’Dell Family Chiropractic, they educate their patients about proper techniques so that they can continue with treatments at home. It will allow them to feel the benefit from the care without having to come in for appointments every day or week.
Are our Massage Techniques Effective for Neck Pain? The study on neck pain and stiffness is still inconclusive, but there seem to be some benefits in using massage therapy for these purposes. The problem of measuring the methods used when applying a light-touch or moderate level massage makes it challenging to gauge whether one type is more beneficial than another because they both have their strengths. Still, massage therapy is a better alternative for temporary pain relief as opposed to medications.
What are massage techniques for neck pain?
There are several massage techniques for neck pain that can be performed. Some of them have more benefits than others. A few examples would include:
- Massaging the cervical spine in a circular motion (this helps improve circulation and flexibility)
- Doing gentle stretches with your head resting on their hands or someone else’s to relax tense muscles.
- Trigger point therapy is done by pushing down on specific points along with the muscle, which will help release tension from those spots.
Dr. O’Dell provides some of the at-home massage therapy you can use to relieve neck pain temporarily. The following massage technique is as follows:
- Use a Towel: Soak a towel in hot water and wring it out. Twist the wet towel into a thick braid-like shape, then place it behind your neck with one end of the band held by each hand. Rub up and down on your neck until warm, applying moderate pressure to release tension in muscles there as you go along for 2 or 3 more rounds if needed.
- Neck Muscle Massage: Get the tension out of your neck and release head pressure with this easy self-massage exercise. Place one hand behind your left ear, applying gentle yet firm contact on that muscle area by rubbing it in soft circular motions for 10 seconds before switching hands to repeat the process on a different section of your neck muscles.
- Side Muscle Massage: Start by sitting up with your back straight. Place the palms of both hands on either side of your neck and rotate the head ever so slightly to one side. Feel those muscles in that area tense, then switch sides for a few reps before moving upward towards this topmost section near the base of your skull while still slowly rotating from left to right several times more. You should be able to feel these firm but pleasant sensations all over as they work their way across different regions at various levels along this region just below where that bit between two vertebrae sticks out (near what looks like an inverted triangular mountain formation).
- Sub-occipital Muscle Massage: You can reduce neck and shoulder pain with just a few minutes of gentle self-massage. Begin by placing both hands on the right side of your neck, then apply pressure using your fingers to gently massage the suboccipital muscles in an up and down motion along each side. Once you have finished applying pressure from one hand, move it off while maintaining contact with its partner at all times until they are separated enough for you to place that second set of fingertips over them as well. Repeat this procedure two or three times before switching sides so that both sets get massaged equally.
- Circular Massage: To relieve neck pain, lower your shoulders away from your ears. Straighten the back of the neck and straighten out any kinks in the spine with gentle muscle contractions or by doing a light stretch. Find where you feel soreness on your upper shoulder blade area and press firmly for 3 to 5 minutes using circular movements – do this every 10-20 seconds until you’re done (about three times).
Professionally speaking, there are two types of massage chiropractors, and massage therapists use to address neck pain.
Swedish massage is the most common type in Western culture. Swedish Massage focuses on long, steady strokes aimed at relieving tension and promoting relaxation throughout the body through a combination of kneading, friction motions, circular movements, or taps to loosen tight muscles. It also may include rhythmic pushing and pulling for deeper muscle tissue manipulation. One of its main goals is to promote relaxation by stimulating nerve endings that inhibit pain receptors deep within your tissues while increasing blood flow with light stroking techniques will help increase bodily circulation. Thus, reducing any painful sensations you’re feeling.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is a type of therapeutic bodywork that uses deep pressure and slow strokes to work on the deeper layers of muscles. It was initially developed as an alternative for people who couldn’t take long periods in traction or do other types of physical therapy, such as calcium lithotherapy (the use of stones wrapped with cloth). However, it has become popular among those seeking pain relief treatments because they can find them more accessible than traditional methods like chiropractic care.
As you can see, there are many ways massage therapy can help relieve neck pain. Whether it’s because of a work-related issue or if the chronic condition is related to your sleeping position, we’re here to help. Give us a call today and book an appointment with our skilled team of therapists so they can get started on helping you live life without any more discomfort. We also offer online scheduling and same-day appointments – no need to wait around when relief is just one phone call away.