What a Pain in the Neck!!

Studio shot of sportsman with pain in neck

We’ve all been there at one time or another.

You have a stiff, painful neck with a decrease in normal range of motion (AKA pain with movement).

What the heck is going on??!

Casual Businessman With Pain In His NeckFirst let’s take a snapshot look at the structures and function of the neck. You have the delicate cervical spinal vertebrae that make up the bony support for the head (while encasing the spinal column through this region). Between the vertebrae are the shock-absorbing discs. There are layers of muscles, large and small that are responsible for stability and movement. There are major blood vessels and nerves that course through this region as well. The neck is a complicated place, so that stiffness and pain can arise from problems with muscles, nerves, vertebrae, discs or any combination thereof.

The neck’s main function: to hold up your Big Ole Head!  (Estimates vary, but your head weighs between 8-10 pounds!) That’s a lot of “mellon” atop a rather small pedestal. If it were just to sit there, that would be work enough, but with what we put it through in the course of even an average day, it’s a wonder we don’t always have a real Pain in the Neck!

So what to do?

That depends on the cause. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, fallen for any reason hitting your head or hurting your neck, you should seek immediate medical attention so that the extent of your injuries canWoman Painfully Carrying Boxes be determined. The same is true for any sudden onset of severe pain, numbness or weakness. These would all be circumstances where massage would be contraindicated until a medical evaluation has been done.

When your neck pain is not readily connected to an injury episode, it may be the result of everyday living. Perhaps you slept awkwardly, carried one too many packages at the same time or spent too much time on the computer. These are the circumstances where massage can help get you back to your old self.

Man trying to sleep on couchLastly, if your neck discomfort has not improved after massage, a few days of rest and home remedies, it’s still a good idea to get it evaluated by your physician.

(See Medical Disclaimer Blog post)

 

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