Massage Therapy for That Pain in Your Neck
Neck pain, whether chronic or acute, can have debilitating, adverse effects on your work and home life. Luckily, neck pain can be sufficiently relieved by massage.
Regular massage therapy has been used for centuries to prevent and alleviate pain, as it helps joints remain flexible and lessens the chances of you pulling a muscle.
Causes of Neck Pain
- poor posture when walking, sitting, or sleeping
- head and neck trauma – including whiplash
- muscle strain
- carrying heavy bags
- sleeping on inadequate pillow or mattress
- excessive computer use
- a pinched nerve
- degenerative disease
Massage Therapy to Relieve Neck Pain
The massage to alleviate neck pain may include treatment to your shoulders and upper back muscles. In addition, it may also include the arms, chest, and legs muscles, as gentle massage of these areas can be helpful to relieve neck pain.
Tui Na massage can be particularly effective for neck pain. In Tui Na (as in acupressure) the therapist focuses on kneading, rolling, and rubbing specific acupoints on the body. This helps release muscle tension and provides relaxation for days after the massage.
Thai massage pulls and stretches the area of the neck. The therapist may apply scented oils (such as lavender which aids relaxation) to reduce friction and provide the added bonus of aromatherapy.
Potential Benefits of a Neck Massage
- relieves stiffness
- improves blood flow in arteries supplying parts of the brain
- prevents dizziness, fatigue, headaches, insomnia and panic attacks
- boosts the immune system
- improves brain functions – including concentration and memory
- reduces lactic acid accumulated from holding the neck erect for a long period of time
DIY Neck Massage
Massaging the neck while in the shower is a good idea. The following do-it-yourself neck massage may be performed as you sit at your computer desk.
- Mold your hands over your shoulders.
- Exhale and let your head drop back as you slowly squeeze your fingers towards your palms, gliding up the muscles of the back and shoulders towards the neck.
- Rest your elbows on the desk and allow your head to fall slightly forward.
- Use your fingertips to make small deep circles into the muscles on either side of the spine from the shoulders to the base of the skull.
- Interlock the fingers of both hands at the back of your head.
Healthcare professionals have long acknowledged massage as beneficial for neck pain and many encourage patients to pursue massage therapy in addition to conventional medical treatment. Some medical practitioners recommend professional neck and upper back massages at least once per month.