Massage Treatments for Neck Pain

Category: Massage Posted: 31 Jul 2019

Posted: 31 Jul 2019

neck pain, shiatsu massage pressure points

Waking up to find a crick in your neck is a rotten start to the day. Although this kind of pain usually disappears within 24 hours there are some simple solutions, including specialised massage techniques, which can help speed up your recovery.

So instead of walking around London looking like Frankenstein for a day, try out one of the following massages that one of our London based therapists can deliver to you before you go 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 a pain or stiffness in the muscles around the neck and shoulder blades area.

It usually appears unexpectedly and makes the upper half of your body feel less mobile. You might find it painful to turn your head left or right or your neck may seem like it is slightly out of joint and needs to be ‘clicked’ back into place. Overall there is a feeling of tightness, restricting your usual degree of flexibility or movement.

In most cases, and especially if you have not been suffering from any other illness, waking up to this kind of neck pain is nothing more than muscle fatigue. It is usually caused by an extended period of poor posture or over-exertion. In a minority of cases, a sudden onset of neck pain could be associated with a more serious underlying condition and in such cases you should always seek advice from your doctor.

Two of the most common causes for a stiff neck are sleeping with your neck in a bad position all night or sitting at your desk with the wrong posture for several hours. Londoners often live hectic lifestyles which means finding yourself doing one, or both, of these things is not at all unusual.

Neck stiffness caused by muscle fatigue is a short-term condition that usually resolves itself in a day or so. However, the following treatments are excellent ways to speed up recovery and feel better even sooner.


Head, neck and shoulder massage

Massage therapy is a great way to relax tight spots around muscles and soothe pain in any part of the body. When it comes to muscles around the neck and shoulders, one of the most highly recommended treatments is the popular Indian head massage. This usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes and often included as part of a full body massage.

Massage styles like the Indian head massage based Jet Lag therapy specifically target these upper body areas. The primary aim of this kind of treatment is to provide soothing relief from stiffness caused by sleeping in uncomfortable positions. If you have ever travelled long haul - whether economy class or even in business - this will be a stiffness that you are all too familiar with!

Other popular treatments for neck pain include acupressure based massages such as Japanese Shiatsu. These techniques use a slightly different method to provide relief. The principal is to apply a medium sustained pressure to very specific points on the neck to relieve stiffness and pain through opening up energy blockages.

Incidentally, whether or not you are suffering, most people agree a head massage feels great - but have you ever wondered why? It is simply because this part of your body contains many of the most sensitive nerves. 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.


Pressure points

The diagram below shows the 5 main pressure zones on the neck and shoulders:

neck massage pressure points


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.


Safety precautions

Performed correctly a neck 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.

There are various electronic massagers available on the market but for complete safety, we recommend using a qualified and trained professional such as a masseuse, chiropractor or osteopath to help fix your neck pain.