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Neck pain and what to do about it

By Jane McClurg 16 September 2018


Neck pain is very common, did you know that it is only second to the common cold for reasons that people call in sick to work!!

Neck pain can be from

  • chronic postural strain
  • sleeping on your stomach
  • faulty sitting posture  
  • excessive desk or computer work
  • jerking movement during exercise
  • forward head posture
  • other illnesses such as meningitis: immediately contact your doctor if you have fever, headache, numbness/tingling, vomiting, nausea, trouble swallowing associated with neck pain.


Neck pain can translate into headaches which can be managed with peppermint & lavender essential oils rubbed on to the temples and back of the neck and drinking a lot more water and using a heat or ice pack. Sometimes if pain persists or reoccurs more frequently you must look at the structural factors of what maybe causing this.

One of the most effective preventative factors is to address the posture and fitness of your neck. Getting the musculature around the neck and shoulders working in the correct way will improve the coordination of these muscles and therefore the endurance also.

Your body’s musculature serves two functions; one is to produce movement and the second is to control or guide that movement.The large superficial muscles produce movement and are usually very active and easy to train eg: trapezius.

The deeper muscles which guide movement are important for preventing injuries and they are often weak when you are in pain and thus require specific therapeutic exercises to activate them and train them. In this area it is more about endurance of the muscle not strength….muscles involved could be levator scapulae or posterior sub-occipitals.

To minimize neck pain or stop it re-occuring:

  • adjust your computer screen (not too high, not too low)
  • adjust your car seat so you are sitting at 90 degrees
  • sleep on your side or back
  • have a good pillow
  • do regular shoulder rolls and neck stretches
  • have regular breaks from the computer
  • drink water
  • get your eyes tested
  • have a regular massage

 There are many simple exercises that your massage therapist can prescribe if you are having neck problems….try these:

  1. Chin Tucks: standing or sitting straight place your finger on your chin then gently draw your chin away from your finger to create a double chin. Then relax and repeat 5 – 10 times.
    This helps to stretch the posterior muscles but also to activate the deeper anterior muscles which often have switched off allowing the head to transverse forward.
  2. Levator Scapulae stretch: standing or sitting straight tip your head to the side and gently tuck your chin. Place your hand on your head for slight pressure. No need to push down. Hold for 20-30 seconds to stretch.

Massage is hugely beneficial to release the tight muscles and eliminate any trigger points which maybe causing headaches. Often it will take 2 or 3 30 minute sessions to alleviate the tightness and prevent re-occurrence. Sometimes in conjunction with massage a chiropractic session is what is needed to realign the vertebrae.

Always communicate the history, onset and symptoms to your therapist to assist with your treatment.

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