Neck pain can be a real, well, pain in the neck if you ask us. It can prevent you from moving properly, working normally and provide a lot of discomfort in your day-to-day life. But with a proper management plan of massage therapy, pain and tension can be reduced and managed.
What can cause neck pain?
Stubborn neck pain is common and usually stems from one of the numerous causes: MVA’s, quick jarring movements with previously tense muscles, sleeping in awkward positions or poor posture over long periods of time.
Doctors regularly recommend anti-inflammatories, but these medications don’t always provide enough relief. Patients are often trying to find something that helps the problem instead of just decreasing symptoms through medication.
How often should you get a neck massage?
A recent study looks closely into determining the ideal dosage of massage therapy. It was found that the benefits of massage were apparent after four weeks. The researchers determined that patients getting one hour of massage three times a week showed the most improvements after four weeks of massage. People getting massage three times a week were almost five times more likely to have a clinically meaningful improvement in function and twice as likely to have a decrease in pain.
Keep in mind this treatment plan would change as your neck improves, but this is what’s proven to be the best approach at decreasing neck pain as fast and efficiently as possible.
Can’t get in for a massage? Try these exercises to ease tension:
- Side bend: standing up nice and tall, lean you right ear to your right shoulder. Gently reach your left arm down towards the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, take a deep breath in leaving your head where it is, on the exhale reach your ear closer to your shoulder. Repeat 3 times and then switch to the left side.
- Posterior neck muscles, single sided stretch: standing up nice and tall, turn your head 45 degrees to the R, from there slowly drop your chin towards your chest. Keeping your head turned 45 degrees. Hold for 10 seconds, take a deep breath in leaving your head where it is, on the exhale, look down further. Repeat 3 times and then switch to the left side.
- Sub-occipital Stretch: Standing up nice and tall, interlace your fingers behind your head at the base of your skull. First tuck your chin, then Reach your head down towards your chest, keeping your chin tucked. Relax your shoulders. Gently apply pressure to the back of your head to feel a stretch starting at the base of your skull down to your upper back. The more you tuck your chin the more you will feel this at the base of your skull. Hold 10-30 seconds, increase the stretch every 5 seconds with your breath.
- Foam Roller Stretch: You can do this with a yoga block or a ridged foam roller. The edge should be right at the base of your skull. Relax the weight of your head into the roller. When you feel your muscles releasing, slowly start to rotate to the left of right. Pause where you feel tension or restrictions. Take deep breaths, once you feel your next release continue rotating. Gently rub the base of your neck after this exercise for 2-5 minutes to flush out the tissue. This exercise helps with tension headaches.
- Neck Pin: Pin the base of your neck with three fingers stacked on top of your other hand on the right side. To do this, gently press down into the adhered tissue and slowly lean your head to the left. With each exhale, lean your head further to the left. Re pin and repeat. This exercise helps with tension headaches.