Do you experience neck and shoulder pain during everyday activities such as working, driving, or sleeping? Do you sometimes wake up with a headache, find yourself unable to look over your shoulder, or simply feel that your neck is "out of whack?" If so, therapeutic massage can work on multiple levels to help you relax, reduce your pain, and regain movement in your neck and shoulders.
A Pain in the Neck The heavy weight of the head requires a lot of support from the delicate, highly mobile structure of the neck. Because of this, your neck and shoulders are particularly susceptible to tension, strain, and injury.
In some cases, neck pain begins with a traumatic incident. For instance, in a whiplash injury the jerking of the head may cause painful sprains or straining in the ligaments and muscles of the neck and shoulders.
Pain can also come on gradually, for example from working day after day at a computer with tense shoulders and your head in a forward position. Other common culprits include cradling a phone with a shoulder, carrying a heavy purse, or sleeping without proper neck support. Conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia can also cause the gradual onset of neck pain.
Pain Can Spread Once tension and pain take hold, other symptoms may develop. Areas surrounding the initial problem may tighten up in a protective response. Ligament injuries and highly irritable spots, called trigger points, can cause pain to extend to other areas. The result can be distant symptoms such as headaches, jaw tension, or tingling and pain in the arms or hands.
Massage for Your Pain Massage can be one of the most effective measures you might seek for relieving neck and shoulder pain. Massage kneads away tension and painful muscle spasms, gently encouraging relaxation, and increasing circulation. Improved circulation can cleanse tissues of irritating waste products that contribute to pain. Oxygen and nutrients flow to tight or injured areas, helping to reduce discomfort and promote healing. Therapeutic massage can also powerfully support additional treatments for neck pain such as chiropractic, physical therapy, or other medical care.
There are many different massage techniques. Some focus primarily on relaxing the muscles, while some help heal ligaments, or release trigger points in the neck and shoulder area. Others relieve pain by working with fascia, the connective tissue that covers and connects the muscles. All these techniques work to decrease pain, promote flexibility and help lower the possibility of future injury.
The Role of Alignment Problems with joint alignment are a common component in pain and reduced mobility in the neck. Massage relieves muscle tension that can contribute to alignment problems. It can also stretch and lengthen shortened tissues, helping to restore mobility. Massage can increase the effectiveness of other treatments such as chiropractic adjustments, which often proceed more easily and hold longer when combined with a relaxing massage.
Your Individualized Plan Your massage session may begin with a review of your pain level and range of pain-free motion. I can then choose my approach, which may address areas of the body that contribute to your pain but are not painful themselves. If you are experiencing severe pain or extreme muscle weakness, consult your primary health care practitioner before receiving massage. Also let me know if you feel numbness, tingling, or other discomforts during a session so that I can adjust pressure or technique. I may recommend a series of sessions depending on the cause and severity of your pain. For the future, you may want to use massage as a preventive measure, scheduling a session as soon as you become aware of increasing tension.
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3900 S Wadsworth Blvd. Ste. 625 Lakewood, CO 80235
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