In Our Neck of the Woods
Do you ever have chronic neck pain? Do you know what massage can do to help it? Do you wonder what to expect during a massage for neck pain?Neck and shoulder pain can arise because of a multitude of reasons. Quite possibly, you may have had an accident, slept in a position that caused pain, or simply have bad daily posture. When you come in for a massage to get rid of this pain, I won’t just massage where the pain exists. While massaging the direct area will feel good and take care of your symptom, it does not address the cause of your pain.For today’s purposes, I will simply discuss pain that is caused from our daily lives. During the day, most of our activities are in front of us. Driving, washing the dishes, using the computer, housework, homework, or even folding laundry are all things we do almost every day. These activities shorten muscles on the front of our body, pulling on the bones they attach to, and then stretch the muscles on the back of our body.Muscles work by simply pulling on the bone they are articulating. A muscle cannot work on a joint by pushing on the bone it attaches to. It can only act in one direction, the direction it pulls in. When we sit over a computer or our smart phones, our head moves forward in to flexion. This motion of the neck shortens the muscles in the front and stretches the muscles of that control extending our necks, or leaning our heads back.When people come into my office, rarely do they point to the front of their neck and say: “I’ve been having a lot of neck pain.” Actually, I can’t even think of a single instance of someone pointing to the front of their neck. People usually grab the back, although sometimes the side, of their neck and tell me about their pain.In order for your massage to be effective in changing the pattern of pain in your neck, I MUST treat those muscles that are in flexion. Lengthening the shortened muscles is the only way to return your body to a balanced state, relaxing the stretched muscles and removing the cause of your pain. Without doing this, your massage will only be a temporary reduction in your pain. We want your massage to be more than a band aid!To gain a better idea of what specific muscles are triggering your symptoms, an assessment may be performed. I may ask you to move your head through various motions, move it myself, or ask you to move it while I offer a slight resistance. All of these motions help determine the underlying causes of your symptoms. This is done to determine what action and structures cause the pain. Maybe the imbalance is actually between the left and right side, because the neck also rotates and laterally flexes in each direction. I promise it’s not just to play with you!When you leave our office, we want you to feel great and have a solution for the cause of your pain!Need a quick fix? Try a 30 minute integrated massage focused on your neck and shoulders. Give us a chance to give you balance and pain free living. Schedule your appointment online.