Chronic neck pain can result from a number of reasons including poor posture, accidents, tension and bad sleep habits, and the discomfort can be stubborn and is often difficult to resolve. However, many patients have found that therapeutic massage is an effective non-surgical spine treatment that can significantly reduce or eliminate persistent neck pain and diminish or omit the need for pain medications.
Studies have shown that the most effective way to utilize massage for neck pain is to receive two or three sessions per week, lasting one hour each. After four weeks, a clinical trial revealed that patients who received one hour therapies reported less discomfort than those who received 30 minute sessions or no therapy at all.
Professional therapists are trained to locate trigger points along the muscles of the neck that are prone to excessive contraction which may be felt as a hardening or knot. Release of the muscle tightness through massage not only alleviates neck pain, but may also help relieve numbness and pain in the arms caused by nerve compression due to muscle cramping.
There are different methods of massage that may be used to combat neck pain including Swedish massage, deep tissue massage and shiatsu. Swedish massage has been shown to be helpful in patients that experience neck discomfort resulting from stress and tension, and deep tissue massage is more appropriate when pain is caused from muscle knotting resulting from poor body alignment and overuse. Shiatsu is more controversial and uses techniques based on oriental natural medicine that incorporate beliefs that the body’s energy flow needs to be balanced.
To be effective, massages should be given by a licensed therapist. Allowing an untrained person to perform a massage when pain is involved may result in further injury and discomfort. It is best to receive a physician referral before undergoing therapy, especially when disc or other spinal injury is present.
Massage is just one of the conservative methods that individuals use to try to reduce or eliminate neck pain. If you are currently living with persistent and chronic neck pain that has not responded to massage or other treatments, contact The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Our team of highly regarded spine therapists and neck surgeons will be able to overview both your conservative and surgical methods for recovery. For more information or to schedule an in-person consultation, call (310) 828-7757.