Many people will experience neck and shoulder pain while they are simply going about their everyday lives. It can be while they are working, driving or even sleeping. Some people will wake up with a headache or find that they are unable to turn to look over their shoulder. Massage can help in all of these instances by reducing pain, encouraging relaxation and improving movement and flexibility.
Understanding Neck Pain
The neck is required to support the weight of the head and this can mean a great deal of tension in the neck area. This means that the neck and the shoulders are prone to tension and injury. Neck pain can also begin with a trauma such as a whiplash injury and sudden movements of the head can lead to strains in ligaments and muscles. It is also possible for pain to begin gradually, particularly for those who spend their days working at a computer or carry a heavy bag on one shoulder. There may also be pain from medical conditions such as arthritis.
The Spread of Pain
Once pain has begun there is the possibility that there are other symptoms which will develop. Muscles that can be found near to the problem area will tighten in response to the pain in order to protect themselves. Trigger points for pain can also be extended and sufferers may find that they have more headaches, tension in the jaw or pain or tingling in the arms and hands.
The Benefits of Massage
Massage is considered to be one of the most beneficial treatments for pain in the neck and shoulders. The act of massage will help to knead away the tension and the spasms in the muscles and will help the circulation to improve as well as encouraging relaxation. An improvement in circulation will help the body to rid itself of waste products which can lead to further discomfort. This way more oxygen and nutrients can reach the problem areas and these will begin to heal. Massage can also be beneficial for those who are undergoing other treatments such as chiropractic work or physiotherapy.
There are a number of different techniques in massage. Some of these have their focus on ensuring that the muscles relax, while others can help ligaments to heal. Others will release the trigger points found in the neck and shoulders, or focus on the fascia tissues which connect and cover the muscles of the body. All techniques are aimed at reducing pain and improving flexibility, which can help to prevent injuries in the future.
Joint alignment can be a problem which leads to pain in the neck and has an effect on mobility. Alignment problems can be relieved by massage and it can also help shortened tissues so that mobility is easier. Those who are undergoing other treatments will find that massage can make these more effective.
A Personalized Plan
A massage session will often begin with a look at the level of pain that you are in and how much movement you have before you experience pain. Your therapist will then base the approach on this information. Those who are experiencing a high level of pain or who have muscle weakness should only undergo massage after consulting a doctor. If there is any numbness during the massage session or other symptoms such as tingling then you should inform your Therapist. It may be that a series of sessions are required if the pain is severe.
Other Support for Ongoing Care
Your therapist may also be able to recommend other steps that can be taken. This could include the use of hot or cold compresses, adjusting a chair at work, changing a pillow or using exercise techniques such as yoga or tai-chi to improve the situation. These can help to reduce stress and dramatically improve your ability to cope with it.