An estimated 7 out of 10 people will experience neck pain. If you’re among those who experience a chronic type, you may benefit from the lasting effects of keeping your spine aligned and balanced through upper cervical care. Massage can also provide neck pain relief if done correctly.
Neck pain may be due to overwork and poor posture. Your everyday activities, including working on your computer, looking down on your smartphone, reading, or watching in bed without adequate neck support, may all contribute to muscle strains. In addition, if your neck feels tight, your neck muscles are experiencing tension and knots and becoming dense.
Some cases of neck pain can go away on their own or with a little TLC through massage or rest. However, knowing some self-massage techniques may come in handy should another unwanted neck pain episode happens.
Benefits of Massage for Neck Pain
Massage has many benefits, but if you’re wondering if it can help relieve neck pain, the answer is yes! Below are some of its proven benefits:
- Massage is a great way to release tension and knots that have built up in the muscles.
- It helps improve circulation and increase a patient’s range of motion.
- It can help ease muscle spasms.
- It can bring local nutrient metabolism to the area.
- It allows the muscle proteins actin, myosin, and titin to unlock so that nutrient-filled blood can enter the area and replenish the cell’s energy cycle.
Types of Massages for Neck Pain
Your body has areas with dense muscle fibers, which are also called trigger points, and massage can temporarily help ease the pain in these muscles. These points can develop in different body areas; stress and fatigue make them denser. But if the muscles are left that way, muscle weakness, pain, limited range of motion, and low metabolic endurance can follow.
This leads to a localized energy crisis, causing significant discomfort to your body. Different types of massages can help loosen the muscles and ease neck pain, some of which you can do by yourself if your schedule can’t fit a visit to your trusted massage therapist. These are:
#1. Trigger point massage
This is a type of massage that applies pressure to areas of muscle that have knots or spasms. This pressure helps release the muscle from the contraction. Here’s how to do it:
- Examine the area and look for the tight spots
- Using your fingers, press firmly into the trigger points. The intensity will depend on you and what you can tolerate. You may also use tools such as foam rollers or massage balls.
- Repeat as often, up to five or six times per day, for three to five minutes.
#2. Shiatsu Self Massage
You may be familiar with this type as it usually gets offered in your go-to massage place. But Shiatsu self-massage may be effective in relieving neck pain caused by tension knots. You may use this method to help with your neck or shoulder pain. But regularly doing them may help you avoid tension and accompanying muscle pains. Try these simple techniques:
Prepare your body
Warm up before you apply any pressure to your neck. This can relax, loosen, and improve your neck mobility.
Work on the left side of your neck
Place your right hand at the base of the left-hand side of your neck. Using your fingers, Press into the muscle and pull your hand firmly across the area of your lower neck and upper shoulder towards your collarbone. Repeat this 4-5 times on both sides.
Start loosening up the right side of the neck
Place your left thumb at the top of the back left-hand ridge of your neck. Rotate the four other fingers of your left hand towards the right side. Then, move your head forward and squeeze the middle of the neck by pinching and raising the muscle using your thumb and fingers.
Remember that the pressure from your thumb should be more than the rest of your fingers. After each squeeze, move your fingers and thumb lower down. All movement should be towards the base of your neck. Do this at least five (5) times. Repeat the process on the other side, with the thumb mostly doing the work.
Stretch your head back
Same as the previous position, place both your thumbs on the upper left and right-hand ridges of your neck at the base of your skull. Tilt your head back as far as possible while remaining comfortable, with your fingers resting on your head. Be mindful as this can be painful at first, so it’s best to start slowly and gently and build up pressure gradually. Massage this area for 1 to 2 minutes.
If your pain persists and it’s making you more uncomfortable, make an appointment with your go-to massage therapist, or you can also seek upper cervical care to have your upper spine alignment checked.
#3. Scarf or Towel Massage
This type targets the back of the neck. If you experience minor neck pain at the back side of your neck, you can use your scarves or a thick towel and twist them several times until you have one big knotted piece of cloth. Grab the ends and use the knotted material up and down your neck to ease muscle tension.
#4. Hand Massage
This can be used when there is pain in the side of the neck. To do this:
- Place your hand on the side of your neck near your ear. You can start on any side you prefer.
- Stretch or extend your fingers towards the opposite side and press firmly with your palm.
- Massage your neck, ears, and the area where your neck and shoulders meet. Then, work your way toward the other side. You can also switch hands and repeat from the opposite side.
- As you wrap up, stretch your neck muscles by tilting your head from one side to the other.
Upper Cervical Care for Neck Pain
If neck pain is becoming concerning for you, seeking lasting relief may be your next best option. Did you know that taking care of your spine health is as important as taking care of your other body parts? Your upper cervical spine, in particular, is highly susceptible to misalignments, which can lead to unnecessary pain and discomfort, including neck pain. If you notice your neck pain happens too often or gets too severe, a visit to an upper cervical chiropractic doctor is necessary.
It’s not uncommon for neck pain to stem from a misalignment. Mainly a misalignment in the top bones of your neck, the C1 (atlas) or C2 (axis) vertebra. Even the slightest misalignment can prompt significant issues to arise, including neck pain. Upper cervical care is gentle and precise and can bring longer-lasting relief from adjustments which can help alleviate neck pain.
Remember, this can only be done by a professional, so you will need to seek the help of upper cervical chiropractic doctors near you. It will also require adjustments as your misaligned bone has to be moved slowly and gently. However, some patients complaining about neck pain swear by experiencing comfort and relief after a few adjustments.