Massages for Muscle Knots in the Neck
Category: Massage Posted: 31 Jul 2019
Posted: 31 Jul 2019
Waking up to find a crick in your neck is a rotten start to the day. Although most neck pain disappears within 24 hours there are some specific back neck and shoulder massage techniques that may help speed up your recovery.
Instead of walking around like Frankenstein all day, relieve tension in your neck muscles by getting a professional therapist to perform a massage for neck pain before you head out.
What is a crick in the neck?
A loosely defined, non-medical term, the phrase crick in the neck is often used to describe muscle knots in the neck. Once developed, you may suffer pain and stiffness around your upper back, neck and shoulder area.
Knots can occur suddenly and unexpectedly, but are usually simply down to muscle fatigue. If you get a muscle knot in your neck or upper back, you may find it painful to turn your head left or right. Your neck may also seem like it is slightly out of joint and needs to be clicked back into place. Overall the muscles around this part of your body will feel tighter and less mobile than usual.
In most cases, and especially if you have not been suffering from any other illnesses, waking up to unexpected neck pain is not serious. A neck muscle knot is usually caused by an extended period of poor posture or over-exertion, such as sleeping or sitting at a desk for several hours in a bad position.
Tense neck and shoulder muscles are usually a short-term condition and fix themselves in a day or so. However, massage therapy can be a great way to relax tight spots and relieve pain from muscle knots quickly. In a minority of cases, the sudden onset of severe neck pain may be associated with a more serious underlying condition - in such cases you should seek advice from your doctor.
Try one of the following treatment styles the next time you wake up with a stiff neck.
Neck and shoulder massage
When it comes to relaxing neck and shoulder muscles, one of the very best treatments is the Jet Lag Indian head massage.
This type of treatment focuses completely on the head, neck and shoulders. Most sessions last between 15 and 30 minutes, but if preferred can be extended to a full hour. If you are suffering from neck pain, then it is best to ask your therapist to spend more time on your upper back, neck and shoulders and a little less time on the face. Indian head massage is often included as part of a longer duration therapeutic full body massage, but can also be booked on its own for specific upper body tension.
Trigger point massage therapy
Other popular treatments for neck pain include trigger point and acupressure based massages such as Japanese Shiatsu and Reflexology. Yes that's right, some therapists will press parts of your feet to help relieve pain in your neck!
Trigger point massage techniques use a slightly different method from the conventional strokes of oil based massages. Instead of using long flowing effleurage, therapists focus on applying a medium level of sustained pressure to very specific points on the neck, using the tips of their fingers. These pressure points are believed to be connected to physical and mental energy channels which become blocked over time through unhealthy living.
The diagram below shows the 5 main pressure points and zones on the neck and shoulders:
A – the Feng Fu pressure point. Located at the centre of the back of the neck, just below the base of the skull.
B – the Gates of Consciousness points. Either side of point A, in the hollows of the vertical muscles.
C – the Window of Heaven (or Tian You) points. Located towards the edges, just below the ear lobes.
D – the Heavenly Pillar (or Tian Zhu) points. Located about 2cm below the Gates of Consciousness pressure points.
E – the Shoulder Well (or Jiang Jing) points. Located below the neck at the top of the shoulder blade muscles.
Points A, B and C are commonly used in acupressure to soothe neck tension as well as relieve related headaches. Pressure is applied to points D and E to relieve stiffness and also cure the general fatigue caused by a crick in the neck.
I've got neck pain - why massage my back?
Sometimes when we feel sore in one part of the body, the underlying cause may be a condition elsewhere.
So a pain in the neck may actually be caused by an issue further down your torso. For example, you may have a weakness in your lower back, which is causing you to over-compensate and exert extra strain on other muscles, such as those in your neck. In this case, a neck massage would still relieve tension but it would not get to the root of the problem.
We therefore recommend that even if you are suffering from only neck pain, a therapeutic full body massage may still be the best treatment for you. You can select your head, neck, shoulders and back as the main focus areas for your treatment by using the Focus Man during the booking process.
Softer may be better
Most people agree a head massage feels great - but have you ever wondered why?
This is simply because your head and neck contains many of the most sensitive nerves in your body.
Don't believe us? Stroke your finger lightly down the side of your neck and then do the same movement on your arm or leg. You should quickly notice how much more sensitive the side of the neck is than other parts of your body. This however is also one of the reasons it is so easy to injure or stress. Even a small amount of excess tension can cause stress and discomfort. Conversely, a soothing touch applied to the neck and shoulders feels especially wonderful due to all those nerves.
Performed correctly a neck and shoulder massage is completely safe. However, being a relatively delicate part of the body it is important for any such treatment to be done using the appropriate techniques and pressure.
As a general rule, the treatment should not be painful or too uncomfortable at any time. To avoid the danger of suffocation, the front of the neck should only be stroked lightly and deep pressure should never be applied.
You can also find numerous electronic automatic neck massagers for sale which may provide some relief when you cannot book a professional therapist. However, for a complete treatment and improved long term wellness, we suggest you book a qualified and trained professional such as a masseuse, chiropractor or osteopath to help fix any neck pain.