How Physical Therapy and Sports Massage can help resolve Neck Pain.
According to UK statistics, neck pain is the third most common area of pain in the population, and approximately two thirds of the population will experience some form of neck pain in their lifetime. Research has shown that women are more likely to suffer with neck pain than men, and that life stresses increases the risk of neck pain. Neck pain can severely limit and impact everyday activities such as standing, sitting, sleeping and carrying out normal movement activities whether at home, work or in physical sporting activity.
Conversely, research has shown that sports massage and advanced physical therapy massage techniques, together with stretching and strengthening the correct muscles, can greatly improve the symptoms of neck pain.
I regularly treat clients who experience neck pain. As well as pain symptoms, many of my clients have postural neck problems such as forward head posture, head rotating more to one side, or head side flexed more to one side. Bad neck posture in itself can lead to neck pain, as well as headaches and dizziness.
The following is an example of a client who came to see me suffering from neck pain, which greatly inhibited his ability to work and lead a pain free life.
Patrick works as a mechanic, is 35 years old and came to see me with pain down the right side of his neck down to his shoulder. Two weeks earlier Patrick was playing squash and subsequently experienced a tightening of his neck. The next day this progressed to pain and thereafter, the pain had been getting worse. Most movements were affected, he had difficulty sleeping, and was taking time off work due to the pain which he could ill afford to do.
From a postural perspective he had a forward head posture, perhaps subconsciously to reduce his pain, and his head was slightly tilted to the right. His walking motion was also effected,in that more weight was over to his right.
During the first session my main objective was to reduce discomfort, increase comfort and begin restoring function. After carrying out a number of special tests to assess the exact area of dysfunction, I massaged Patrick’s neck and shoulder area until the soft tissues were warm and relaxed. At this point I identified the contracted area of Patrick’s neck which was causing the pain. Using advanced neuromuscular techniques I released the contraction in Patrick’s neck, followed by advanced stretching. Patrick could now move his neck pain-free, plus his neck assumed a balanced posture. I then gave Patrick 3 stretching exercises to carry out on the following 3 days.
He returned to see me after 3 days for his second session. He was over the moon. The pain and discomfort had reduced greatly, and he was almost pain free. My next challenge to help Patrick was to assess his neck posture with a view to identifying tight and weak structures which could potentially cause the problem to occur again. By massaging, stretching and releasing the tight neck structures, and strengthening the weaker structures Patrick was feeling most confident about his ability to function well again. I gave Patrick a Corrective Exercise program to work on.
Sports massage is only one aspect of my work which reduces pain and discomfort. The other aspect is giving people the correct advice and the corrective exercises needed to ensure a stronger better posture to pre-empt future injury, or postural problem.