What the heck is a “crick in the neck” anyway? You wake up with limited (and painful!) neck movement, usually on one side. Sometimes it just feels stiff, but other times it feels like bone-on-bone contact. Ouch.
Is it a pinched nerve? A slipped disc? While these things are possible (see your doctor if you have recurrent neck pain, or neck pain that includes other symptoms such as fever or shooting pain down the arm), neck cricks are usually due to an unassuming little muscle that runs from the side of your neck to the top of your shoulder blade. It’s called levator scapulae, and it’s responsible for raising your shoulder toward your ear.
This muscle gets irritable when it’s expected to hold heavy purses and backpacks, when you tilt your head to one side a lot (ever use your shoulder to hold your phone?), and when your posture is slouched. When this muscle gets ticked off, it can act like a brick wall that no amount of stretching will fix.
What to do? Ice and heat can help. Start with heat (a heating pad or sock full of uncooked rice, heated in the microwave) for 20 minutes, then switch to an ice pack for 10 minutes. Repeat this a couple of times through your day. You may be tempted to try to stretch it out yourself, but remember that levator scapulae is angry! Anything other than rest and gentle movement might further aggravate the area, increasing the minor crisis that your pain receptors are telling you about.
What else can you do? You guessed it: massage and/or acupuncture. While stretching and pressing on your neck might result in worse pain if you do it yourself, our skilled team at Written on the Body have a few tricks up their sleeves. We can focus on your neck and the surrounding muscles, gently and methodically to help your neck realize it can stop holding so tightly. In some instances adding hot stones or having an infrared sauna session prior to your treatment can facilitate even further healing. If you aren’t sure what approach is right for you, give us a call at 503-473-8515 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help you choose the appropriate treatment path.
Follow this up your appointment with us with some more of that ice and heat, and you should be feeling pretty good by the next day. If you get cricks frequently, come see us regularly and we may be able to prevent them entirely!
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*This post is an adaptation of an article written by Massage Sloth
Yes! Massage can help improve your posture read on to find out how…
We are sitting more than ever before with long hours at the computer, commuting, watching TV and it is affecting the way our body is aligned. Our shoulders and neck are pulled forward due to tight, shortened pectorals (chest), scalene’s and my favorite named muscle the sternocleidomastoid (front of neck). Our pelvis’s are out of whack from weakened abdominal muscles, shortened hip flexors and more. While we are busy slumping and slouching from sitting waaayyyy more than our bodies were intended to we need our grandmother’s in our ears to nag us to take breaks, pull our shoulders back and down and stand up straight, for goodness sakes!
How can massage help you achieve your goal of beautiful straight posture? Here is the short list of what we can help you accomplish:
Almost every Massage Therapist I know pays attention to posture all the time. We can’t help it! Even when I am out and about I am noticing other people’s posture and thinking of ways that I could help return them to a balanced frame. If you are working towards correcting your posture you should talk to your Massage Therapist about your goals, they will most likely have some insight on where they notice imbalances and what type of treatment plan could work for you.
Massage therapy helps to ease the tension in tight muscles caused by postural imbalances, for instance I mentioned the forward body posture above often caused by long hours at the computer which can cause arm, hand, neck and upper back pain. Targeting specific muscle groups such as the pecs and the muscles on the front of the neck can help lengthen them allow the body to find the space to realign itself into the proper position. This applies to other areas as well such as releasing the hip flexors for the low back to help relieve pain in this area.
Massage relaxes you, improves your circulation, helps eradicate stress and is one of the best pain relievers out there. Many of the unhealthy patterns our body creates are caused by stress tension and pain which means getting regular massage is a key ingredient to letting go of those things that are having ill effects on your posture.
I would never try to mislead you into believing that massage is a miracle cure, that you won’t have to work hard to return to a healthy posture or that massage will be the only tool you might need. However I do believe that regular massage is an important (and hopefully really lovely) piece of the amazing posture puzzle. Don’t take my word for it Book Your Massage Today!
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Massage and Acupuncture are natural remedies for Neck pain
Neck pain is very common in our culture and there are many different reason’s a person can experience neck pain. Some of these include poor posture, unhealthy holding patterns created by repetitive motion or overuse, injuries, structural issues and changes are just a few. Neck pain can be very disruptive to a person’s everyday routine especially sleep patterns and regular work, when your body is chronically experiencing pain you are unable to function optimally. This in addition to the possibility of permanent disability and severe injury are important reasons to address neck pain as early and aggressively as possible. Here are some of the ways massage and acupuncture can help:
Acupuncture for neck pain:
Can reduce spasms and lesson pain
Acupuncture can reduce inflammation and even obliterate it with regular treatments
Acupuncture promotes better blood flow through treated areas which promotes healing
Releases endorphins changing the way the brain and spinal cord perceives pain
Acupuncture addresses underlying issues such as stagnant energy, holding patterns, stress and other problems that are at the root of your neck pain
Cupping helps relax and break up stuck fascia and scar tissue freeing your body to move more efficiently
Massage for neck pain:
Increases blood flow which promotes healing
Decreases tension in muscles
Calms the body releasing tension all over the body rather than just in the select concentrated areas
Regular massage can help lengthen muscles that are shortened allowing your posture to correct itself
Consider massage and acupuncture as part of your health care plan, you are important and taking good care of your body is essential to living a long, healthy and happy life. Check out our packages and memberships for affordable options in getting the treatment you need to become free of pain!