Neck pain is common. Some more serious causes of neck pain may require medical care. The fast onset of severe headache, with a very stiff neck and fever, may be caused by meningitis. Neck pain occurring with chest pain and pain in the jaw may signify heart attack. An injury that causes spinal cord damage may include loss of feeling or movement in the arms. These conditions require immediate medical care.
Less severe neck pain has many causes. A minor strain or accident can cause severe pain but will not be terribly serious. That pain should resolve within a few weeks. Pain may also be created by sleep positions, posture overuse or injury. Tension and stress can cause stiffness and tight muscles. Ligaments may be overstretched or torn. This pain can spread to headaches or down into the back and shoulders. Influenza can cause a general all-over aching, including in the neck. Arthritis can damage the discs in the neck, resulting in pinched nerves.
Most neck pain can be effectively treated with massage. Massage will generally relieve stress, relax muscles and improve circulation. As the muscles relax, the tissues will realign. As the circulation improves, the muscles and tissues will heal more quickly. There are many kinds of massage and most will help neck pain.
Deep tissue massage may reduce neck pain.
As the name suggests, deep tissue massage works the deep muscles and sometimes uses deep finger pressure. This can be very effective in relaxing the muscles and realigning the other tissues. It can also reduce inflammation and decrease scar tissue. However, it can be uncomfortable or even downright painful and can leave you very sore for a few days.
Shiatsu may improve neck pain.
This is a Japanese massage incorporating finger pressure to specific points. It works on the same principle as acupressure and is effective in relieving muscle tension. However, it may be mildly painful.
Trigger point therapy may improve neck pain.
A trigger point is a specific tight area in the muscle fiber that creates pain in another area. Massage of a trigger point in the shoulder may relieve neck pain or headache. Although the massage may be mildly painful, sometimes the pain relief is dramatic
Swedish is the best massage for neck pain.
As the name denotes, Swedish massage was developed in Sweden several hundred years ago. It attempts to relax the whole body using long strokes toward the heart. The strokes, with oil or lotion, relax the muscles, ease tensions and improve circulation. It is very pleasant and very effective.
According to a study conducted by NCCAM, a group who received massage approximately once a week, to improve neck pain, was much more improved after ten weeks, than the group who only used self-care. At twenty-six weeks, the group participating in massage was still improved more than the self-care group. Although the range of differences between the groups narrowed as time went on, the study demonstrated the significant effectiveness of massage for the relief of neck pain.