Neck Pain

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If you have ever had neck pain, you know how uncomfortable and distracting it is. Suddenly you’re aware that your neck is involved in a lot more than just moving your head. Many people get neck pain that comes and goes a few times before they get a pain in the neck that they can’t seem to shake. Others just wake up one day and can’t turn their head.

 Causes of Neck Pain

While neck pain can be caused by problems with any of the structures in the neck, neck pain very often has a muscular component. Where muscle tension is the main cause of neck pain, it is usually either a jolt or trauma that has caused spasm in the muscles or chronic tension build-up due to poor posture.

The neck muscles are small muscles whose main function is to balance the head over the shoulders and rotate/tilt the head. In today’s society, however, sitting or standing with shoulders rounded forward has become almost universal. This posture causes the head to sit forward of the shoulders, recruiting the small neck muscles to bear the full eight to twelve-pound weight of the head. Eventually this continuous overuse can lead to neck pain, pain in the tops of shoulders, tension headaches, and sometimes even tingling or referred sensations down the arm or back.

How Sport and Remedial Massage Therapy Can Help

The primary focus of a course of sport and remedial massage therapy for neck pain is to relieve the tension that has built up in the muscles while helping you to improve posture and incorporate stretches and exercises to prevent the muscle tension from building up again. We look not only at the neck muscles, but also at opening up the front of the body and activating postural muscles to make it easier to maintain good posture and keep the head over the shoulders.

With focused work to relieve accumulated tension and small, easy-to-incorporate steps to improve posture, most muscular-based neck pain sufferers not only get to a point with manageable neck pain but are able to get rid of their neck pain completely.

Where neck pain has a muscular and structural component, sports and remedial massage therapy can be very effective in conjunction with other therapies – many clients will see a massage therapist to loosen up the muscles one or two days before seeing their physiotherapist or osteopath.

You should consult with your medical practitioner for your neck pain if:

– it follows a fall, blow to the head, or injury
– it is accompanied by a headache and fever and you have difficulty touching your chin to your chest (it may be a sign of meningitis)- it is accompanied by severe or continuous tingling, numbness or weakness in your arm or hand
– it is accompanied by an inability to swallow or difficulty breathing
– you also have swollen glands or a lump in your throat
– you lose control over your urine or stool

When in doubt, contact your medical practitioner for advice.

For more information about neck pain, here are some links that may be of interest to you:

The structures of the neck and various causes of neck pain:
More detailed information on the neck:
A study on massage therapy and neck pain:
Information on neck pain from the Mayo Clinic:


Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. All reasonable care has been taken in compiling the information but no warranty is made as to its accuracy. For diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions it is always advisable to consult a doctor or other health care professional to ensure the specific details of your case are taken into account.

Copyright © Katherine Creighton Crook 2011

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