• Ben Johnston

Self massage techniques to reduce pain: Neck

Important note: Your head is not isolated. Your shoulders are a direct link to the function of your neck. Fix the shoulders and the neck gets better.

Pressure felt in the base of the skull or neck can be caused from inflammation building in that area causing pain. That pain is from a limitation of strength in holding your head up and many people feel like their head is really heavy. Another feeling a lot of people feel is a limitation of rotation of their neck and my be accompanied by a headache or pressure behind the eyes. All of this can be caused from a slow lymphatic flow. Since your posterior neck muscles help your head stay on your neck and depending on how bad your posture is determines how hard they have to work.

Overworked muscles will fatigue over time and build with pressure. That pressure can shut off specific muscles and cause other muscles to keep up with the demands. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “I have knots in my neck.” Those knots are being created due to your bodies response to repair a damaged area. Facial tissues (scar tissues) fill that area to protect the area from more damage.

Answer to the problem of a painful/stiff neck: pull your shoulders back…it’s not as easy as that. Here is a technique to reduce the tension in your neck and it has nothing to do with massaging your neck.

Cross your arms with your hands in your armpits. Make a fist with both hands and tuck them closer to the front of your body where the shoulder meets your chest. Now press one elbow into your body, one at a time. This action is call isometric contractions (no movement of a joint). You will feel a muscle under your fist. That is the pectoralis minor. The muscle that is engaging in your arm is the bicep muscle. Those two muscles draw your shoulder blade forward pulling on your neck. By having your fist into your body creates resistance and breaks down the muscle faster. After trying that a couple of times, move your shoulders around and see if your neck still feels stiff. If you get any cramping in the back on one side like the right side, then try to soften the left side first.

This is just one way to break down specific muscles fibers in the body that are associated with the neck. Give it a try and let me know what you think.


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